Greek community participates in National Hazing Prevention Week

Sarah Muller

The Office of Greek Affairs handed out lemonade and encouraged students to sign a #SayNoToHazing banner to kick off National Hazing Prevention Week, which started Sept. 22.  

To raise awareness, case studies of hazing incidents were presented to greek community volunteers. The participants’ solutions and courses of action were then presented to judges. The winning team received prize money.

“People want to see hazing addressed and they want to see things done, but it’s not something that wants to be brought up,” said Alex Riesberg, junior in business marketing and vice president of risk management for Interfraternity Council. “I think this week people are glad that we are doing stuff like this.”

Participants were given a case that had been tried many years ago, where chapter members took the wallets and cell phones of new members and brought them out to the woods. Then they blindfolded them and told them to recite the chapter’s creed until they had it memorized. They were left in the woods and later to be found by the police.

“When I saw this particular case study, I felt that it was something that could realistically happen to a fraternity and a person in my position would have to handle on two different fronts,” said Benny Rohloff, junior in psychology. Rohloff is new member educator and vice president of judicial affairs for Phi Kappa Psi. 

Rohloff took a three-point approach to handling the case study, which started with solving the situation within the chapter, handling it amongst the national fraternity and addressing it on the university’s judicial level.

“Hazing is illegal and it is something that removal of membership or some kind of judicial proceeding within the chapter might not be sufficient,” Rohloff said.

The judges of the participants’ course of actions were Sara Kellogg, assistant director of judicial affairs, and Michael Davis, director for Buchanan Hall. Both judges commonly handle behavioral issues.

“We’re looking for how completely they address the problem, what kind of solutions they come up with, how it might have a larger impact on the community and if they are thinking about the future and not just current situations,” Kellogg said.

Hazing is not only recognized at the university level but nationally as well.

“When you look at national greek organizations, they have really taken a stance of really wanting to be on the forefront of non-hazing and making sure that all of their members have a good and positive experience,” Davis said.

The goal of the week was to bring awareness to hazing, but Billy Boulden, director of greek affairs, believes other life lessons can be learned.

“I think critical thinking is an important skill to learn,” Boulden said. “Whether that’s regarding hazing or in your life, to learn how to process a situation and to make decisions is an important life skill.”

While bringing awareness to campus, the greek community is also trying to fight against stereotypes. 

“I think the greek community is plagued with a stereotype [that isn’t] painting our community in the best light,” Rohloff said. “I think that our community in particular is taking a stance to actively fight against the stereotype.”