Thursday, September 29, 2011

Hazing Prevention Week - What Would You Do Lehigh?

As you may be aware, the Office of Fraternity/Sorority Affairs and the Women's Center launched a bystander intervention initiative for the entire Lehigh community in the fall 2009 semester. The initiative has been received well and we are constantly re-inventing ways to expose the campus community to the concept of bystander behavior; instilling the message of individual responsibility to stand up and intervene.

This week is Hazing Prevention Week and the Office of Fraternity & Sorority Affairs along with its governing student councils (IFC, Panhel and MGC) have partnered with Julie Sterret and Lehigh Athletics peer groups to bring awareness to hazing prevention and education. This week is a very important event sponsored by our office as we aim to bring awareness to an issue that not only affect college campuses, but society as a whole. While there have already been numerous well received and attended programs thus far, we wanted to bring your attention to one that will be used a social experiment for the campus.

If you have heard of the ABC Series, “What Would You Do” with John Quinones, you are familiar with the concept of the events that will occur. If you are not, please allow me to give you a brief synopsis. What would you do if you saw an act of injustice? How would you react to something so outrageous or tragic that it compels you to do something about it? “Primetime: What Would You Do?” sets up elaborate realistic scenarios with actors testing real controversial subjects to see what ordinary people would do when pushed to act, or if they act at all.

The purpose of this program: 69% of people on campuses nationwide say that they are aware of hazing occurring at their schools, yet hazing goes unreported each year. We want to gauge people’s reactions to the various acts of hazing carried out throughout the day and let them know what to do if they see something similar in the future.  These examples of hazing are the most obvious and most common forms (that don’t involve forced consumption of alcohol or sexual acts), so they would be the best ways to show the campus community what hazing looks like.

1. Abduction
Why: 9% of social fraternity and sorority members report being abducted as part of their hazing process.  It is also one of the most apparent forms of hazing (both due to the public aspect of it and the cultural glorification) and is something that can very easily be reported.

2. Forced Calisthenics
Who: Panhel
Why: Physical acts of hazing are common, especially for athletic groups and male fraternities. This form of hazing can sometimes be disguised as a “group workout”

If you have any questions or concerns about today’s programming, please do not hesitate to contact the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs. Our hope is that by bringing these issues to the public’s attention, we may educate on what hazing is and how to identify acts of hazing.

Recognizing the negative impact hazing has on all of Greek life, 20 international fraternities and sororities have joined together to establish a national Anti-Hazing Hotline. The toll-free number, 1-888-NOT-HAZE is available to those who think they, or students they know, have been or may be victims of hazing. Callers may remain anonymous or provide personal information so that they may be responded to directly.

The law firm of Manley Burke will forward copies of messages to the appropriate national organizations along with the relevant hazing laws for that jurisdiction. Lehigh University students, faculty and staff are encouraged to use this resource, along with the local and campus resources, if they suspect that hazing is occurring within the Greek system.

If you feel that you may have insight to an incident that may be considered hazing, please fill out the online form at .  This form is anonymous and your identity will be kept confidential. It will not be disclosed to the individuals or group in question. If you would like our office to contact you about the status of the investigation, please provide your contact information below for a follow up. All information obtained will be used solely for this purpose. If you would prefer to speak with someone about this form and disclosing your identity, please feel free to call the Office of Fraternity & Sorority Affairs at 610-758-4157.