â€œThis would speak to the need for colleges and universities to recognize that this is broader than a Greek issue,â€ says Daniel Swinton, president of the Association for Student Conduct Administration and assistant dean and director of Vanderbilt Universityâ€™s Office of Student Conduct and Integrity. â€œOftentimes weâ€™re aware of the hazing that goes on elsewhere, but so much is focused on the Greek realm that we neglect, I think, some of these other ones where itâ€™s often not as high-profile.â€
Kim Novak, a consultant in campus safety and student risk management and namesake of the Kimberly Novak Hazing Prevention Institute, says a limited perspective has led colleges to direct their hazing policies and prevention efforts primarily toward fraternities and sororities.
â€œItâ€™s a comfortable audience to focus on — itâ€™s easy. Whoâ€™s going to walk in and say, â€˜We donâ€™t have hazing in our fraternities and sororities?â€™ â€ Novak says. â€œItâ€™s a more difficult conversation to talk about hazing in performing arts organizations or paraprofessional groups. Itâ€™s a different type of a conversation; itâ€™s not as easy to engage administrators in.â€
She and others believe colleges should approach hazing as a public health issue â€“ educating the entire campus, not just individual sectors, on things like what hazing is and what to do when it happens. (The bystander intervention model, for example, which trains students to step in when they see something awry, is a popular method for preventing sexual assault, bullying and alcohol abuse that could be applied to hazing.)
Some colleges have begun approaching the issue in a more holistic way, Novak said, and experts generally agree that Championâ€™s death will encourage others to move in that direction. The Novak Institute, for instance, brings together students, faculty and staff from different campus groups, administrators and law enforcement to discuss and map out this prevention approach. (And effectively addressing hazing clearly requires more than punishing the perpetrators — in the years leading up to Champion’s death, White had suspended dozens of students for hazing.)
The University of Kentucky, which sends a delegation to the Novak Institute and received the 2011 Zeta Tau Alpha Award for Innovation in Campus Hazing Prevention and Education, formed a Hazing Prevention Coalition made up of student leaders and staff representing Greek life, violence prevention, counseling, athletics, public relations, residence life, parents and alumni. They reviewed the universityâ€™s hazing prevention programs, as well as its hazing policy, the latter of which it proposed revising to protect not just students but anyone affiliated with the campus as potential victims. Kentuckyâ€™s prevention program includes workshops and seminars for Greek members and registered student organizations, presentations and meetings with varsity and club sports athletes, briefings for new Reserve Officers Training Corps cadets, and a session for parents during the fall seasonâ€™s welcome week.