The following post for StopHazing was written by Lara Carney, an intern for StopHazing and a fourth year Journalism major at the University of Maine with a double minor in professional and creative writing.
The Chronicle of Higher Education recently featured Elizabeth Allan and the Hazing Prevention Consortium (HPC) in an article titled “Colleges Confront the Perils of Frats”. The article discusses the newest developments being made and policies put in place toward eliminating hazing within universities, as well as hazing issues that are still surfacing despite the rules and regulations implemented.
Some universities notice students intermingling innocent games meant to “replace more-dangerous pledging traditions” with long-established hazing practices. These practices involve alcohol, beatings, exposure to “real or stimulated sex acts,” or other harmful customs.
“For all the efforts to rein in fraternities, problems associated with recruitment and initiation seem intractable nationally.”
Despite these steps back, there have also been large steps forward. There’s been an increase in the number of students wanting to discover new, safer activities to promote a “bonding experience” among fraternity and sorority members that doesn’t include the long-practiced tradition of hazing. Students also seem more apt to report situations of hazing they may witness.
“[B]ringing problems out into the open and promoting confidential reporting have helped lift the veil of secrecy that perpetuates abusive behavior.”
Spreading the word on how to prevent hazing helps progress this change. The article quotes Allan while discussing the importance of bringing hazing incidents to light. “Many students report that they talk to their friends and families” when it comes to incidents of hazing, Allan says. It’s important to reach out and connect with them to ensure hazing isn’t occurring. The article provides other ways of prevention as well, including:
- Pushing “team-building activities,”
- Taking “greater control over fraternity life,” and
- Changing “the structure of the recruitment and initiation process.”