Students attempting to put an end to hazing at Indiana University
I-Team 8: Students attempting to put an end to hazing at Indiana University
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WISH) — Five fraternities at Indiana University have been placed on cease and desist since August because of hazing.
Over the past four years, according to university statistics, 33% of all Greek life organizations have been disciplined for hazing.]
Conor Kennedy, president of the Interfraternity Council at IU, said, “Hazing is anything that a group of students, particularly new members in this instance, are required to do that the whole chapter is not required to do.”
When Kennedy’s term with the organization started in January he was concerned about the high number of Greek life organizations that have been disciplined by the university in the last four years. “Hazing is not something that builds brotherhood. It’s not something that builds strong and healthy chapters.”
Last spring, the Interfraternity Council created a program called Hoosiers not Hazers. Every fraternity has to go through the educational program.
“We want to have something where there was a peer-to-peer approach where students were talking to other students about what hazing means rather than students to administration, or people that are a lot older than them, because when those people that they’re talking to have the same lived experience it really helps to kind of relate on that aspect and then understand that when they air it out why it’s bad and why they should be working away from it.”
Have some chapters gone through that program and then this fall been put on cease and desist?
“Yes, which was unfortunate to see. It was definitely disappointing on our end because we felt that we had had the conversation with them about what hazing was. What to look for, how to stop it, etc., and they obviously violated that.”
Is the program working, or are there tweaks that need to be made?
“I think it is working. Obviously with anything that you implement, you learn from how it goes and you can make changes slightly throughout, but the main goal of it with the peer-to-peer approach, I think, has been really beneficial because it opens up for students to have conversations with other students and then they can truly realize things that they may not think are a big deal can be and they can lead to higher-level conduct issues.”
The university does not release specifics about hazing incidents that led to disciplinary action for Greek life organization.
The university website outlines dozens of examples of hazing broken up into 12 different categories, including mental and emotional duress, physical abuse, and sexual abuse and harassment. The website also urges anyone who knows of or is experiencing hazing to report it.
That reporting system is what has led five fraternities to already be placed on cease and desist so far this year.
Kennedy said, “It’s a little bittersweet. Obviously, it’s concerning because the nature of some of these reports can be of concern. It’s something these chapters aren’t supposed to be doing within the new member education process, but, at the same time, it’s also positive because we know that infractions are being reported to the Office of Student Conduct rather than being swept under the rug.
So, does IU have a hazing problem?
“I think that we’re working to fix the problem that’s persisted, but it gets better every year. Every year that we work toward a more modern fraternity culture, we work further away from the hazing problem,” Kennedy said.
The Interfraternity Council says it will continue to its work to eradicate hazing on campus.