Hazing prevention week


File Photo

At last year’s “Gumbo Ya Ya,” students participated in painting a “These Hands Don’t Haze” sheet sign.

Annie Goodman, Editor-In-Chief

Since the death of Louisiana State University student Max Gruver, the state has taken stricter stances on hazing activities.

In addition to the university’s “These Hands Don’t Haze” event, the university will be celebrating National Hazing Prevention Week with events throughout this week.

President of Sigma Tau Gamma Lane Taillon, a senior industrial technology major, explained the usual hazing prevention seminar his chapter participates in.

“All associate members must be educated according to Sigma Tau Gamma’s ‘Path of Principles’ member record and manual,” said Taillon. “This educates them on the law regarding hazing as well as more likely hazing situations they should be aware of, rather than the more exaggerated picture painted by the film industry. This also provides them with the tools to report any incident.”

Taillon shared some of the myths he encountered when he first decided to join a Greek organization.

“Some of the most common myths when I was going through recruitment in the fall of 2015 was usually based off media,” said Taillon. “I was aware of rumors of being paddled, made to drink excessive amounts of alcohol, or eating unsavory foods while being locked in a room. These rumors, which I had no evidence was actually being conducted anywhere, definitely made me hesitant to rush in the beginning. It was a pleasant surprise when I realized SELU’s Greek life is not in line with these expectations.”

Although Taillon has never met someone who wanted to be hazed, he is aware of the media’s role in an individual’s perspectives of hazing.

“The closest thing to an individual being ‘pro being hazed’ is associates that have taken the media’s portrayal of being forced to excessively drink as a fun activity,” said Taillon. “This, however, is simply not a part of Sigma Tau Gamma’s associate member process, and so individuals are forced to quickly rethink their expectations.”

President of Kappa Alpha Order Tyler Olivier, a senior marketing major, pointed out the false belief that hazing is unique to Greek organizations.

“Many people like to use fraternities as a scapegoat for a wide variety of social issues, hazing being one of them,” said Olivier. “People believe Greek life is the only place hazing happens when this is completely false. Hazing is widespread amongst all organizations regardless if it’s based on academics, music, art, athletics or fraternities.”

Olivier also expressed frustration with overdoing hazing classifications.

“Another one is that when people think of ‘hazing,’ they think of forced alcohol consumption, embarrassment or physical discomfort,” said Olivier. “The term hazing by definition allows different parent organizations, i.e. a national organization compared to a local chapter, or SGA compared to a local chapter, to use specific wording to make ‘hazing’ cover an unbelievably wide variety of tasks and often ruin their anti-hazing message by giving the impression that just about everything is hazing.”

According to Olivier, a pledge has never expressed interest in being hazed to him as a collegian, but as a pledge, his fellow pledges would often say they wanted to be hazed.

“The idea behind it was not that my brothers were hoping to be handed a deadly amount of liquor and told to chug, but rather they wanted to go through hell as a group in order to become closer together,” said Olivier. “They wanted to be put in positions that forced them to rely on each other and create a bond. Luckily, the Epsilon Kappa chapter of the Kappa Alpha Order does not and will not haze, so they did not get to experience it.”

Olivier explained KA’s hazing prevention efforts.

“We have our own chapter-led hazing prevention seminars,” said Olivier. “We also attend the anti-hazing events whenever SLU hosts them. On top of that, our national organization holds three to four conferences a year, each of which includes at least an hour presentation or hazing prevention.”

Taillon explained the “endless battle” fraternities face due to the media portrayal of their organizations.

“All fraternities must now first prove themselves not ‘bad eggs’ before they can ever start to build their own reputation based on their ideals,” said Taillon. “This problem is rooted in hazing and the organizations around the country that still practice these traditions. Educating these organizations and instituting appropriate associate member education programs will benefit not only individual chapters, but Greek life around the country.”

Olivier feels it is important to raise awareness of the dangers of hazing.

“People need to know that it is still prevalent and that both the university and organizations are all on the same page when it comes to standing up to those that find hazing to be beneficial,” said Olivier.