Finals week is coming up so ‘Tis the time to be busy and focus on school. I wasn’t going to write anything until the week was over but I worked on a project about hazing on campus and I just had to share the information I found in hopes of bringing light to the issue.
Hazing is any action or situation, with or without the consent of the participants, which recklessly, intentionally, or unintentionally endangers the mental, physical, or academic health or safety of a student. We are more familiar with hazing in the greek system setting but it is also a big problem in athletics and among other clubs on campus.
A lot of hazing happens to freshman or sophomores in a particular group and recent data is showing that hazing has become less of an initiation act and more of a ‘let’s humiliate this person and take advantage of them’. Hazing activities have wide range and some events lead to death. In fact, statistics show that 1.5 million high school students are hazed each year; 47% of students came to college already having experienced hazing. 55% of college students involved in clubs, teams and organizations experience hazing. A lot of hazing leads to deaths and of the many many unfortunate deaths, you can read examples of some here or watch this short documentary.
Hazing has a lot of psychological effects that may last throughout someones’ life and should be taken as a serious issue. The pressure to fit in and be liked is a powerful reason for students putting up with hazing and this behavior may carry on in the future. Research shows that people that have been bullied are more likely to be a bully themselves so it is definitely very important to break the cycle.
There are laws concerning hazing in 44 states but none of them are nearly strict enough, nor are they very specific on what constitutes as hazing. If you think about it, it is difficult for police officers to show up at a party and point out if the event was hazing or not, which is why training is absolutely crucial.
A lot of high schools and Colleges are realizing the effects hazing and are putting anti-hazing task forces in place and making prevention a priority. With a lot of social media platforms informing the public on any hazing activities, it is also in their best interest to maintain a no-hazing environment. For example, with the hazing activities at Penn state, someone who is interested in joining the team/university may feel like it’s not a good environment for them.
Some good resources to find out more about hazing and how to get involved in stopping it are stophazing.org and hazingprevention.org. If you or anyone you know has been a victim of hazing, use (1-888-668-4293) to report it or use the free national youth crisis hotline (1-800-448-4663) to talk to someone.