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National Hazing Prevention Week

September 29, 2017

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Last week, some of Wheaton College’s football players were charged with a violent hazing attack that left the victim requiring surgery. The incident was described by the victim as being beaten, bound, and left half-naked on a baseball field in the middle of the night. The players were charged with a variety of crimes including unlawful restraint, mob action, and aggravated battery which is an extremely serious offense. The aggravated battery alone can carry two to five years in prison. Although hazing might seem like a playful term in the perspective of some people, it is a serious problem that must be addressed.

HazingPrevention.Org organizes an annual week of hazing awareness. National Hazing Prevention Week (NHPW) was the 18th through the 22nd and aims to raise awareness about the problem of hazing, educating others about hazing, and promote the prevention of hazing for campuses, schools, communities, organizations, and individuals. The HazingPrevention.Org website has a plethora of resources to learn about hazing and joining the conversation. There are event sign-ups, press releases, previous hazing cases, and recommended speakers just to name a few of the pages on the website.

Many schools have been caught up in hazing scandals within the athletic communities on campus like Florida A&M when one of the marching band members stepped onto a bus and did not walk off alive. Senior Tom Cangelosi remembers seeing a freshman being thrown head first into a garbage can from his high school lacrosse team. A different example of what might seem like “harmless hazing” would be telling freshmen of any sports team to carry equipment simply because they are new to the team. These cases may vary but ultimately have the same effect; a feeling of ostracization.

Fraternities and sororities have also participated in hazing throughout the country. There have been instances where the entire fraternity or sorority shut down because the worst possible scenario occurred. In 2012, Dartmouth alum Ravital Segal told about her Kappa Kappa Gamma nightmare. She was blindfolded, order to drink 64 ounces of spiked punch, take vodka shots, and eventually shoved out of a car. She awoke in a hospital with a blood alcohol content level that was .001 away from a coma. At Louisiana State University, there is currently an investigation with the Phi Delta Theta fraternity surrounding a death of an 18-year-old boy.

There are several cases in which hazing is labeled as a “rite of passage” or a “tradition” so that the victims feel obligated to participate in the crude acts. No matter how anyone labels these unlawful activities, they all result in psychological scarring and a sense of inequality. Whether it is in high school, college, graduate school, on a sports team, Greek life, or any organized group of people, any form of hazing should be viewed as intolerable. Speak up and say something because inequality is inequality no matter how it is labeled.

Riley Hess
Editor in Chief

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