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Clemson changes thanks to the Hipps activism: C.O.H. article

Changes at Clemson–Chronicle of Higher Education this week excerpt

When Tucker Hipps, a 19-year-old Sigma Phi Epsilon pledge at Clemson University, died during a run with members of the chapter in 2014, the university quickly took action, suspending all 24 of its fraternities’ initiation programs and hiring a consulting firm to review the Greek system. At the time, the Clemson Fraternity and Sorority Life department consisted of two full-time staffers and three graduate assistants.

AFTER THE REVIEW, CLEMSON INITIATED A FRATERNITY AND SORORITY LIFE FEE, $60 A SEMESTER, THAT WAS ADDED TO THE TUITION OF ALL GREEK STUDENTS. THE FEE FUNDS TWO ADDITIONAL FULL-TIME STAFF MEMBERS, AN ADMINISTRATIVE COORDINATOR, AND EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMMING AROUND HAZING AND ALCOHOL TO REDUCE RISKY BEHAVIORS.

While the additional fee was initially met with grumbling from students, Gary Wiser, director of fraternity and sorority life at Clemson, said it transformed how much programming and support his office could actually provide. “After the first semester it was implemented, after the students saw how much they were getting out of it, I think it just became part of the experience,” Wiser said.

By Hank Nuwer

Hank Nuwer is the Indiana-based author of Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His new book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press.

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