Baruch College Hazing

ColinThe following post was written by Colin Schlank, StopHazing Social Media Intern. Colin is a recent graduate from the University of Connecticut. 

In December 2013, Chun ‘Michael’ Deng passed away, the result of a fraternity hazing ritual. During a weekend retreat to the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania, brothers from
the chapter blindfolded Deng and ordered him to wear a heavy backpack filled with sand. They instructed him and his pledge class to carry it across a snowy field at a fraternity house, while brutally tackling him. The brothers delayed seeking medical assistance, and he died soon after.

Just a few weeks ago, a grand jury indicted over three-dozen of the fraternity members with crimes relating to Deng’s death. Many of these individuals face charges of third-degree murder, aggravated assault, and hazing. In addition, various brothers, as well as the
president of the national fraternity at the time, are accused of trying to cover-up the crime. This decision to prosecute represents a landmark case in holding fraternities accountable 15-michael-deng.w529.h529for their actions. It is no secret that many Greek organizations, as well as various other groups, face major issues relating to hazing. However, as the media continues to release new stories, solutions to these problems seem even more uncertain.

From my perspective, holding individuals and organizations accountable is the first step towards invoking meaningful change. It is essential that students, professionals, and other stakeholders in educational institutions take immediate action to eliminate hazing and other harmful behaviors.

Hazing on School Campuses: What Parents and Students Need To Know

The following resource was originally written by Michelle Chaney, M.D., MScPH for The Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds at The Massachusetts General Hospital. 

Despite the illegalization of hazing in 44 states and the implementation of anti-hazing efforts on school campuses across the U.S., these high risk and oftentimes life-threatening practices continue not only in Greek life and among various sports teams, but also in marching bands, military groups and even honor societies.  Students commonly perceive these initiation rituals as harmless fun and group-bonding exercises; however, they can progress to downright dangerous behaviors that may even result in fatalities—as in the case of Florida A&M drum major Robert Champion, Jr., who died following a beating by fellow band members during a hazing ritual in 2011.

This tragic death has brought the topic of hazing back into the spotlight recently, as former Florida A&M band member Dante Martin has since been sentenced to more than six years in prison for manslaughter and felony hazing, the longest sentence ever in a collegiate hazing death.  He was one of fifteen individuals charged, but the only to receive prison time thus far.

Seven students from Sayreville War Memorial High School in New Jersey also made headlines when they were charged with sex crimes in a football hazing investigation: four freshmen members of the football team were allegedly held against their will, while the upperclassmen defendants improperly touched them in a sexual manner.  The seven students have been suspended, and the football season cancelled.

You may be asking at this point: What actually is hazing?

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National Hazing Prevention Week Spotlight: University of Central Florida

To celebrate National Hazing Prevention Week, we’re highlighting the efforts of some of the institutions participating in the Hazing Prevention Consortium. We begin with the University of Central Florida.

For the students, staff, and administrators that make up the hazing prevention coalition at the University of Central Florida (UCF), the activities of National Hazing Prevention Week will be the culmination of a planning process that began last May and developed significantly over the course of the summer. UCF’s schedule for National Hazing Prevention Week ambitiously features workshops providing introductory information to help students understand hazing and recognize it as a problem, case study competitions for graduate students, and bystander intervention training, amongst numerous other prevention efforts. Perhaps the most innovative of these prevention efforts is a session entitled Your Life On Trial, a mock student conduct case which aims to provide transparency to the process by which hazing cases are processed on campus.

“We thought creatively about how to get information to students and community members,” says Dr. Germayne Graham, Associate Director of the LEAD Scholars Academy at UCF and liaison to the HPC. According to Graham, such breadth of programming is the result of lessons learned from attending the 2015 HPC Summit, combined with strong institutional support and leadership that encouraged a variety of stakeholders, particularly students, to get involved. “The biggest part is the students,” says Graham, “we have representation from students involved in the marching band, athletics, ROTC, fraternity and sorority life, student affairs, student conduct, and leadership programs.” These students, along with staff members and faculty, were enthusiastically encouraged to get involved by the Dean of Students-highlighting the impact of visible messaging on campus hazing prevention efforts.

Importantly, UCF hopes that such diverse programs will have lasting impact and change student behavior and attitudes towards hazing. Therefore, they are conducting an evaluation for each of the initiatives this week to determine what students have learned and are also following up in three months in order to see if the programing resulted in pro-social behaviors that persist.

A video promoting National Hazing Prevention Week at UCF is featured below:

“We Don’t Haze” Documentary and Prevention Resources Now Available

StopHazing worked with The Clery Center to develop “We Don’t Haze,” a 17-minute documentary to promote hazing prevention on college campuses. The documentary shares the perspectives of those who have had their lives impacted by hazing and touches on key themes related to hazing prevention such as examples of hazing, how to recognize hazing behaviors, and alternatives to hazing. In collaboration with The Clery Center, StopHazing developed a companion prevention brief for college and university professionals, alongside several discussion / facilitation guides to be used in conjunction with the film. The trailer to the film can be viewed above and the full documentary is now available for free here.


Black Bear Attack Raises Money For StopHazing

Screen-Shot-2014-07-23-at-1.54.15-PM-250x213On Saturday, October 4th, The University of Maine Student Wellness Resource Center hosted the 4th annual “Black Bear Attack” adventure race. In total, over 350 students, parents, and community members from throughout the greater Orono area took part in the 3.5 mile race to benefit StopHazing, raising over $1,200. A video and write up about the event can be found here.