This past weekend a group of four students and three administrators from KU attended the Novak Institute for Hazing Prevention. Representatives from multiple campus organizations were present. Christi Davis, Vice President of Public Relations, attended the institute on behalf of the Panhellenic Association.
The Institute ran over four days at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. Nationally recognized faculty led discussions and offered expertise from their own experiences. Participants represented all types of organizations, including athletics, marching bands, student clubs and Greek chapters.
Institute faculty discussed the importance of hazing prevention instead of simply responding to incidents. The goal is to stop problems from occurring by reducing risk factors and promoting protective factors.
Hazing is a complex and multi-faceted issue. It is more than just one incident. It is a set of beliefs and actions developed and accepted over time. Simply responding to an incident after the fact will not create change.
Representatives from KU have started working toward change by creating a partnership among staff and undergraduate students. During the institute KU delegates discussed some of their first steps in the process to hazing prevention. Institute faculty stressed that "effective hazing prevention is a process, not a program". Most campuses address hazing issues by bringing in a speaker and sponsoring a program. These programs can be helpful, but only as a supplement to a complete hazing prevention process that digs beyond the surface.
Recently, KU has started a University-wide initiative to "Start a new tradition. Stop Hazing". Visit their website at www.preventhazing.ku.edu. The website offers resources for students, parents, organization advisors/coaches and University staff/faculty.
The University has also created a hazing prevention task force, which will be planning National Hazing Prevention Week from September 19 – 23. The Panhellenic Association fully supports the University in all their efforts and has pledged to "Start a new tradition. Stop hazing". Panhellenic members understand why hazing is harmful and will not be bystanders. Join us and take the pledge at http://www.preventhazing.ku.edu/pledge.shtml.