Hazing Common At U.S. Colleges
Published On Monday, March 17, 2008Â 1:19 AM
By H. ZANE B. WRUBLE
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Almost a year after the College revised a policy to reduce hazing on campus, a national study found that over half of all college students involved in school organizations experience the phenomenon.
The studyâ€”which was conducted by Elizabeth J. Allan and Mary L. Madden, both associate professors at the University of Maineâ€”found that 55 percent of students had encountered some form of hazing. Nine out of 10 students who had been hazed by the reportâ€™s standards said they did not think they had been hazed.
The report defines hazing as â€œany activity expected of someone joining or participating in a group that humiliates, degrades, abuses, or endangers them regardless of a personâ€™s willingness to participate.â€
Researches surveyed 11,482 undergraduates at 53 colleges and universities across the nation. Three hundred students were also interviewed.
Examples of hazing include alcohol consumption, sleep deprivation, and sex acts, according to the report.
â€œThe goal was to look at the extent and nature of hazing,â€ Madden said in a phone interview yesterday.
According to Madden, there has only been one other comprehensive study of hazing, which looked at Division I athletics.
Madden said that one objective of the study was to increase awareness of hazing, as well as an understanding of why it is a generally accepted part of campus life.
â€œHazing is a complex problem,â€ she said. â€œDifferent people, depending on where they fit, are going to see it differently.â€
Last spring, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences changed Harvardâ€™s Handbook for Students to hold student officers responsible for any hazing that occurs within their ranks. All student officersâ€”even those responsible for non-affiliated clubsâ€”must register with the College under the new policy.
The policy has met with mixed reviews from group leaders.
â€œI think itâ€™s an extremely effective policy,â€ said Harvard-Radcliffe Television President Michael C. Koenigs â€™09. â€œItâ€™s limited hazing across the board.â€
But not all students agree with the strict policy.
â€œIâ€™m uncertain whether holding students responsible to this extent is the most effective method,â€ said Tamar Holoshitz â€™10, a member of the Undergraduate Councilâ€™s Student Affairs Committee. â€œBut I do appreciate that the administration is trying to work on this.â€