October 07, 2010
Pop-culture constantly pokes at fraternity and sorority life for its
stereotypes: elitists, preppies, partiers. And: you will definitely be
hazed if you even want to think about being initiated. Trying to break
the stereotype, Rollins’ Fraternity & Sorority Life (FSL) fought
back by hosting National Hazing Prevention Week (September 20-24).
National Hazing Prevention Week started out of a meeting hosted by the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors in 2003. It initiated the idea of a national symposium to speak out against hazing and brought in CAMPUSPEAK, a college speakers agency.
Rollins chose to participate because Fraternity & Sorority Life as a function of the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership (OSIL), believed that it would be a great outlet to educate the campus on the harms of hazing and how it affects individuals in various organizations on campus, not just fraternities and sororities.
“We wanted to reach out to our members and students so that we could educate them on hazing and what the healthy alternatives are to create unity and tradition in their organizations,” said Justin Andrade OSIL Graduate Assistant.
Rollins FSL hosted many events throughout the week, including a preview and discussion of the documentary Haze, and a banner contest, which was won by Chi Omega. They also passed out T-shirts and wristbands to wear in unity of national hazing prevention efforts.
“I think it is important for students to participate in this event in order to educate our current and incoming members on why breaking the hazing mindset will bring us forward as a community,” said Andrade. “It begins with a few people in every organization refusing to abide by hazing rituals, which will hopefully cause a ripple effect within members of the community. This week is meant to educate students on the serious harms of hazing.”
The ultimate goal is to prevent hazing from happening in the first place. That goal will only be accomplished through strong educational efforts, attentive policy enforcement and on-going efforts on each campus and within all organizations. Rollins FSL provides organizations with ideas and programs that build community and bonds of unity without the humiliation or degrading behavior seen in hazing practices.
“The message in National Hazing Prevention Week is that hazing does not promote a positive, healthy and effective way of creating a "brotherhood" or "sisterhood" bond,” said Andrade. “Events involving heavy alcohol consumption or life threatening situations are a very real and serious matter that we want students to be educated about and know how to avoid. We also want students to know about the bystander effect and how they can be more active in stopping a hazing incident while it is happening in front of them.”
Scott Harris (Class of 2013)—Chi Psi
“I define hazing as making or promoting someone to do something against their will or is potentially bad for them. When you prevent hazing you prevent injury. Why would you want to beat up someone who is your brother? Why would you want to watch them do stupid things that hurt them in the long run?”
Ashley Franklin (Class of 2012)—Alpha Omicron Pi
“Hazing occurs when someone is forced to participate in an activity that makes them feel uncomfortable, or singles them out in a negative way. Hazing prevention week is important because it encourages all organizations, academic, athletic and Greek, to reevaluate their organization in order to ensure that hazing does not occur. The week reminds students of the severity of hazing, and informs them how to recognize when hazing occurs and how they can prevent it from happening. A campus wide hazing prevention week is important because it provides organizations with the opportunity to work together to eradicate hazing from our college.”
Lindsey Hirsh (Class of 2011)—Delta Zeta
“Hazing is any situation in which you are uncomfortable doing what is asked of you. In order to maintain a relatively close knit Greek community on this campus, it is important to be educated about situations that pertain to us. This week is important to reinforce the high standards of excellence that each Greek organization holds itself to. One instance of hazing in a certain organization does not only poorly reflect that certain organization, but how we, as a community, are viewed to the student body, faculty and staff. There are plenty of tragedies in this world that are unavoidable; this week helps to fortify the avoidance of such a tragedy on this campus.”
Laura Hardwicke (Class of 2011)—Non Compis Mentis
“To me, hazing is any type of harassment that seeks to assert power over others. It takes many different forms, from verbal, to mental, to physical. Hazing Prevention week is important because hazing is easy to sweep under the carpet and forget about, especially on our small campus where it doesn't seem like a big deal. Bottom line though, any type of hazing is a big deal. I feel like this week is going to change a lot of people's ideas about what hazing is and how it affects our community.”
Facts about Hazing (from hazingprevention.org)
• 1.5 million high school students are hazed each year. 47 percent of students come to college already having been hazed.
• 55 percent of college students involved in clubs, organizations and teams experience hazing.
• Alcohol consumption, humiliation, isolation and sexual acts are hazing practices common among all types of student groups.
• 40 percent of athletes who report hazing incidents say a coach or adviser was aware of the activity.
• 2 in 5 students report they are aware of hazing activities. More than 1 in 5 say they personally witnessed it.
• 95 percent of students who identified hazing experiences do not report the incident to campus officials.
• 9 out of 10 students who have experienced hazing in college do not consider themselves to have been hazed.
• 36 percent of students say they would not report hazing primarily because “there is no one to tell.”
• Since 1970, there has been at least one hazing related death on a college campus each year.
• 82 percent of deaths from hazing involve alcohol.