Izzy Schellenger || Contributing Writer
This week marks the beginning of National Hazing Prevention week at F&M. Originally created by the Hazing Prevention Organization in 2007, the week is being sponsored by F&M’s Panhellenic Council.
From Sep. 21 through Sep. 25, F&M’s Panhellenic Council wishes to convey to the F&M community that hazing is not tolerated. The purpose of the events throughout the week is to educate the F&M community about the dangers of hazing and to raise awareness about hazing prevention.
Hazing is defined as the act of humiliating, harassing, and mistreating individuals as a way to initiate them into a group. These rituals can be found throughout many organizations and teams; however, hazing on college campuses is largely associated with Greek life.
Some people defend these acts of degradation and belittlement by arguing that they cannot break tradition or that hazing brings new members closer together. One of the goals of National Hazing Prevention week is to educate the public as to why these arguments are not only incorrect, but why they are also extremely dangerous and destructive.
On Monday, the week will kick of with an event on Hartman Green in which people will write down why they believe some Greek organizations haze. This event is inspired by a Twitter campaign that the Sigma Nu fraternity started, which is called #40answers.
In the 40 days leading up to National Hazing Prevention week, the Sigma Nu fraternity and the Hazing Prevention Organization post common excuses that people give for hazing on their Twitter accounts. By using the tag “#40answers,” the public is then asked to respond to these excuses and explain why they are destructive and inaccurate.
The purpose of this campaign is to provide valid feedback and responses to many of the excuses that people give for hazing new members of their organization and to discredit those excuses. This campaign’s goal is to start the conversation about why hazing is harmful.
In addition to the inadequate justifications that people might use to continue hazing, there is also a false conception that every Greek organization hazes their new members. Tuesday’s event will focus on raising awareness about the rarity of hazing, as representatives from each sorority will participate in their own Transparency Project.
The goal of this event is to raise awareness and educate the public about each sorority’s goals and missions. Through informal poster presentations in the Steinman College Center from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., each representative is prepared to answer questions about how their organization treats new members and how they actively combat hazing.
Following with the theme of fighting against hazing, there will be a documentary and panel discussion on hazing on Wednesday. The documentary follows college students, who have been a victim or have hazed others in the past. It explores how these students are actively trying to make positive changes for the future in their college communities. Taking place in Stager’s Stahr Auditorium at 7:00 p.m., the panel discussion will be led by a group of F&M faculty members and students.
Thursday, Sep. 24 is National Gordie Day. This day, which occurs every Thursday during National Hazing Prevention week, honors the memory of Gordie Bailey, a University of Colorado student who died of alcohol poisoning while pledging a fraternity in 2004.
The death of 18-year-old galvanized the creation of many support groups and organizations in his name that all have the goal of preventing alcohol abuse and hazing. On this day, the F&M community is encouraged to wear green in support of Gordie and against hazing.
National Hazing Prevention week will come to an end with an interactive event on Hartman Green called “These Hands Don’t Haze.” Students and other members of the F&M community are encouraged to leave a painted handprint on a large canvas on Hartman Green as a way to personally pledge against hazing. This will occur from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
By participating in National Hazing Prevention week, Franklin & Marshall aims to promote a positive image of Greek life as well as foster a supportive community that encourages the safety and well-being of its members.
Sophomore Izzy Schellenger is a contributing writer. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.