/Hazing definition should be reconsidered; preventative education a necessary step

Hazing definition should be reconsidered; preventative education a necessary step

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By Patrick Stephens
Staff Writer

Hazing is bad.  There is absolutely no doubt about that.
But is hazing as bad as we make it out to be, and is it as prevalent as popular culture and the media make it out to be?
I don’t believe so.
One of the most prevailing myths about Greek life is that hazing is an everyday occurrence and is ingrained as a part of our culture, and this is simply not the case.
Hazing is usually written up to be isolated incidents, because they are exactly that.
Everyone talks up the stories, of course, but it simply couldn’t be as widespread as some would have you believe.
Simply enough, if it happened more, it would be reported more and we would hear about it more.
The other thing that needs to be addressed is what exactly is hazing?
To boil down the definition to common speak, anytime anyone is made to do anything that is against their wishes, it is to be considered hazing.
Forced consumption of alcohol, demeaning public displays or anything of that nature is hazing, of that there is no doubt.
However what about other more mundane things?
If an organization requires a dress code, certain number of hours studying every week or filling out grade reports, and the person feels uncomfortable with this, the organization is guilty of hazing.
Even the word itself has become such a buzzword lately that nothing peaks interest and makes authority figures cringe more than when it goes thrown out there.
Now this is not to make light of any of the tragedies that have happened as a result of new member initiation in the past.
These events are all very tragic, but they all have a common thread in that they all could have been prevented.
Most hazing comes as a result of an older member pushing things too far and a younger member or member candidate not knowing enough to be able to say no.
The solution to this is: hazing prevention education.
This is something that should be available to all incoming students and something that all student organizations should be a part of, Greek or not.
We need more of this so we can recognize the dangers that have occurred in the past and work so that they do not have to happen again.