“A Conversation About Hazing,” a presentation given on Monday, Oct. 14 by keynote speaker Tracy Maxwell, marked the beginning of a series of events constituting Hazing Prevention Week. Lasting until Oct. 18, the week was organized by the Athletics Department, Campus Safety, the Cox Health and Counseling Center, the Office of Student Engagement, the Department of Student Rights and Responsibilities and the Department of Residential Life. In addition to the keynote speaker, the events included presentations by Alpha Delta Phi and Delta Tau Delta as well as a sponsored volleyball match entitled “Block Hazing.”
“This year we had two goals,” Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities James Jackson said, “to let the community know that hazing can occur in different types of organizations beyond the Greek community [and] to inform the community about [the meaning behind] the hashtag [#allhazinghurts].”
In talking about the first goal Jackson stressed that, while hazing has become closely associated with Greek life, it can occur within any student organization. “I think that when people [discuss] hazing the first thing they go to is fraternities and sororities,” he said. “The important thing was letting people know that hazing occurs and it can be [done by anyone from] a capella groups [to] theater companies.”
The hashtag #allhazinghurts was derived as a response to the more extreme definitions of hazing, many of which have become prevalent after the growing number of national incidents of death and severe injury. “It’s important to let the community know that there are many non-physical types of hazing and that they can also have a strong negative impact on our students,” Jackson said. “For some reason, we are willing to overlook the negative mental health impacts that pledging and hazing can have on new members.”
The events of Hazing Prevention Week occurred in the wake of a number of high-profile hazing-related events on campus and indicated an attempt at a shift on how the College attempts to address the matter.