McNeese works to prevent hazing
McNeese State University’s Greek Life recognized National Hazing Prevention Week Sept. 24- 28. Throughout the week, the university’s 13 fraternities and sororities hosted a number of informative and social activities to spotlight the issue of hazing.
Kedrick Nicholas, associate dean of students, said with confidence that McNeese has a historically low number of hazing incidents and the rarity is due to strong educational efforts for all involved.
Nicholas said the cases that the university has had to address in the past are normally “minor” incidents, such as requiring pledges to wear specific clothing or withholding certain privileges from pledges until they’re fully initiated. “Research shows us that a lot of students were hazed in high school,” he said, and often it’s not until they arrive at the collegiate level that they understand that certain “traditions” or “rites of passage” were actually hazing.
Greek life hazing can be defined as “anything that is not written into policies and procedures.” When fraternity or sorority members decide to engage in behavior that is not present in the bylaws to “develop a member” Nicholas said, likely, it’s hazing. “Anything that’s written in your policies and procedures has been vetted by the legal counsel for your organization which means it wouldn’t be written if it wasn’t something that was allowable to do.”
Austin Pottorff, Kappa Sigma member, said he believes fraternities and sororities that engage in hazing do so because of poor understanding of an organizations founding principles. The biggest way Greek organizations can ensure they aren’t engaging in hazing activity is to know their values, said Pottorff. “Leadership, scholarship, fellowship and service – we (Kappa Sigma) won’t do it unless it’s based on one of those pillars.”
Recounting the statistics and stories highlighted during National Hazing Week, he said, “They’re terrible to hear…Why would you want something like this to happen to someone you want to be a part of your organization?”
He also encouraged sororities and fraternities to know what outlets are available for reporting instances of hazing. McNeese offers an anonymous report form which Pottorff described as a strong deterrent for bad behavior and also a safe outlet for victims or witnesses.
The anonymous report form is available on multiple platforms for students to access and all reports are taken seriously, investigated fully and filed for future use if necessary, said Nicholas. For more information McNeese’s efforts to prevent hazing visit, www.mcneese.edu/studentlife/hazinged.