Hazing Film Raises Awareness
By Timothy Woods, Contributing Writer
National Hazing Prevention Weekâ€™s mission is to bring attention to the problem of hazing across the country. In its second year, NHPW has become a national effort to understand and change the culture of hazing. This yearâ€™s theme was â€œhazing hurtsâ€ and SUNY New Paltz was successful in bringing organizations, students and faculty together to take a stand against hazing.
On Wednesday, Sept. 27, over 100 students joined together in the MPR to screen the documentary, â€œUnless a Death Occurs.â€
The first half of this film was made in response to the tragic death of a freshman, Walter Dean Jennings, who was forced to drink a perilous amount of water while pledging an unrecognized fraternity at SUNY Plattsburgh in March 2003. The film includes interviews with the fraternity brothers of the former organization Psi Epsilon Chi, who received national attention from their unsafe practices, and were expelled from school for the part they played in the death of Jennings.
The second half of the movie interviews author Hank Nuwer and Dr. Elizabeth Allan, co-creator of www.stophazing.org, among others.
This part of the film took a look at our culture. Nuwer explained that a lot of young people become victims of a culture of hazing and that this behavior can be cultivated in high-school. Whether it is incoming students who may find themselves victims of hazing by upper classmen during the first week of school, or new members of sports teams who may be forced to partake in a series of degrading rituals to earn the respect of the team.
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