Westminster Participates in National Hazing Prevention Week
BY COURTNEY GALLAGHER
Leaders from various Greek organizations, sports teams and honor societies joined the efforts of colleges across the country last week to educate students on the risks of hazing and how to prevent it.
Interfraternity Council, Panhellenic Council, the Skulls of Seven, Blue Jay Athlete Mentors (BAM) and Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) participated in National Hazing Prevention Week on Tuesday by sponsoring a showing of the documentary “Haze” and facilitating small group discussions following the film.
“A large part of our student population here at Westminster is either Greek, an athlete or both, and even more are involved in some sort of club or other organization on campus, so hazing prevention week is really important to address on our campus,” said facilitator Bailey Mitchell, ’17, a member of Kappa Alpha Theta and the women’s basketball team. “The more people know about the dangers of hazing and the more people understand what hazing is, the more we can prevent it from happening.”
“Haze” tells the story of Gordie Bailey, a first-year student at the University of Colorado who died a month after arriving on campus due to a hazing incident involving alcohol in 2004.
On the night of Sept. 16, 2004, Bailey was placed on a couch in the Chi Psi fraternity house where he was drawn on with permanent markers while unconscious. The next morning, he was found dead face down on the floor.
The film, which was produced by the Gordie Foundation in accordance with its mission “to provide today’s young people with the skills to navigate the dangers of alcohol, binge drinking, peer pressure and hazing,” explores these concepts on college campuses while showing graphic scenes of real-life consequences.
“The video was moving because it displayed how much hazing and its side effects can impact a community,” Lexi Lopez, ’18, said. “The discussion was enlightening too because we were able to learn that there are many different types of hazing, not only the stereotypical image of it, (but also) the different approaches we can all take to prevent it.”
Besides highlighting the harms of hazing, the documentary and discussion were also meant to help students understand what leads to hazing in the first place.
“We wanted to talk about why people haze, why they think it is OK and what can be done to prevent it from happening,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell added that one of the most important parts of discussion she lead was brainstorming ways to bond with teammates, brothers, sisters and friends: “We all soon realized that many of the characteristics that hazing claims to instill in people are actually (better cultivated through) other activities like ropes courses, community service projects and other non-hazing activities.”