According to a national study, more than half of college students involved in clubs, teams, and other campus organizations experience hazing in some form. Students involved in athletics and sororities and fraternities are the most likely to be involved. Hazing is defined as any activity, often of a high-risk nature, expected of someone joining or participating in a group that humiliates, degrades, abuses, or endangers them regardless of a person’s willingness to participate.
Drury University decided to tackle the problem of hazing head on and created a blue-ribbon panel specifically to address the national issue facing campuses. President Tim Cloyd challenged the committee comprised of community leaders, students, administration, staff and faculty to develop a model for NCAA teams and college campuses throughout the country.
That model had to include a comprehensive set of standards and action items that will serve not only to educate and train, but to affect positive behavioral and cultural reinforcement with the goal of eradicating the practice of hazing from Drury’s campus. In addition, the committee plans to share the report with other universities across the country in hopes that it might be useful in their efforts to prevent hazing.
The committee met multiple times throughout the spring of 2017 and reviewed previous hazing prevention efforts in order to build on those to create an action-oriented plan that could serve as a model for other institutions of higher education. The committee quickly realized that education alone is not enough and decided to focus on spurring changes to behavior through action, empowerment, and accountability.
It was also decided that students should have input and ownership in shaping the program. There are student-led hazing presentations for athletes, Greek students, residence life staff, and incoming freshmen. Bystander Intervention is now included in all freshmen CORE courses at Drury University.
Tying hazing prevention education into the curriculum is a new technique. The intent is that students will lead the charge in changing the behaviors that lead to hazing, with student athletes taking ownership of the issue.
This new program is to be seen as a teaching tool and the hope is that other universities, and even high schools, will use this program in their efforts to prevent hazing as well.
“We believe this is a paradigm shift in how hazing has been previously addressed and we hope to share this model with other universities so that they may do the same,” says Dr. Tijuana Julian, EVP of Student Affairs at Drury.
The reviews so far have been positive and the project has been well received. “Drury University has created a report that will not only support the mission of your institution, but one that can easily be adopted by other schools as well,” says Jim Naumovich, Commissioner of the NCAA Division II Great Lakes Valley Conference, of which Drury is a member.
“The policies in this report are well thought out, balanced and fair. They not only clearly articulate the punitive measures for violations of the hazing policy, but also offer incentives to promote adherence and support for the university’s goal of respecting the self-worth and safety for all students.”
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