Hazing News

Inside Higher Education looks at band hazing etc.

“This would speak to the need for colleges and universities to recognize that this is broader than a Greek issue,” says Daniel Swinton, president of the Association for Student Conduct Administration and assistant dean and director of Vanderbilt University’s Office of Student Conduct and Integrity. “Oftentimes we’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 it’s often not as high-profile.”

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.

“It’s a comfortable audience to focus on — it’s easy. Who’s going to walk in and say, ‘We don’t have hazing in our fraternities and sororities?’ ” Novak says. “It’s a more difficult conversation to talk about hazing in performing arts organizations or paraprofessional groups. It’s a different type of a conversation; it’s not as easy to engage administrators in.”

She and others believe colleges should approach hazing as a public health issue – 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 Champion’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 university’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. Kentucky’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 season’s welcome week.

By Hank Nuwer

Journalist Hank Nuwer is the Alaska author of Hazing: Destroying Young Lives; 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 current book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press. He is married to Malgorzata Wroblewska Nuwer of Warsaw, Poland and Fairbanks, Alaska. Nuwer is a former columnist for the Greenville (Ohio)Early Bird and former managing editor of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner in Alaska.
Nuwer was named the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists columnist of the year in 2021 for his “After Darke” column in the Early Bird. He also won third place for the column in 2022 from the Indiana chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He and his wife Gosia, recently of Union City, Ind., have owned 20 acres in Alaska for many years. “The move is a sort-of coming home for us,” said Nuwer. As a journalist, he’s written about the Alaskan Iditarod sled-dog race and other Alaska topics. Read his musings in his blog at Real Alaska Daily-- and in his weekly column "Far from Randolph" in the Winchester Star-Gazette of Randolph County, Indiana.

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