By Michelle LaFiura (Special to The Chronicle) National Hazing Prevention Week began on Monday and will continue until the end of the week in an effort to educate students about the dangers of hazing. Hazing rituals have led to serious injuries and even deaths at other universities.
The Office of Student Leadership and Activities (OSLA) along with the Inter-Fraternity Sorority Council (IFSC) had events and information sessions throughout the week to hold important discussions and raise hazing awareness. IFSC is the governing board of Greek life and is helping to sponsor awareness events for this week.
“[It is] a good conversation to start on campus, because [Greek organizations] are trying to shed the reputation,” said Spencer MacDonald, president of Phi Delta Theta and a member of the IFSC.
Members of Greek organizations were asked on Wednesday to sign a pledge and wear red ribbons for hazing prevention. IFSC also partnered with the organization Ask Big Questions on Thursday to discuss respect and the importance of community building.
However, some students felt that talking about the dangers of hazing does nothing to prevent it.
“I think the pledge might have an influence, but people are still going to do what they want,” said Christian Mason, a freshman psychology major.
The new membership process intimidates other students.
“I would definitely join a frat if there wasn’t any hazing,” said Jared Goodman, a freshman radio and television major.
Fraternities and sororities have a reputation that follows them everywhere, regardless of whether or not it is true.
“Before coming to Hofstra, I had seen a lot of stuff in movies that worried me. I think there are many negative connotations associated with them,” said Danielle Oliveras, a freshman undecided major, said about sororities.
However, the University has taken initiative to correct these problems. To ease student concerns when choosing to join Greek life, organizations are routinely reviewed. Those with allegations of hazing are prevented from participating in events like Greek Week or the parade of floats at Fall Fest, This can result in a lower rating. The ratings are a new system used by the University to grade fraternities and sororities based on university engagement and academic excellence, according to MacDonald. Attendance at National Hazing Prevention Week’s events will also help to increase ratings.
“The University takes any allegation very seriously and our office works closely with Public Safety, Community Standards and other departments during these potential violations,” said Mario Bolanos, assistant director of OSLA.
Phi Delta Theta is currently the only organization with a five-star rating, according to Hofstra’s fraternity and sorority life webpage. Alpha Phi Alpha and Malik, on the contrary, have only one star. According to OSLA, “Chapter[s] with an average [of] one star are usually on the verge of losing recognition at Hofstra University or nationally.” If they do not meet the three-star requirements by next semester, they could potentially lose Hofstra recognition.
Zoe Hoffman, junior public relations major, vice president of academic affairs in Delta Phi Epsilon and the programmer of IFSC, acknowledged that hazing would always be present.
“We know it happens, and we’re not going to pretend that it doesn’t, but we want to reduce the percentage,” Hoffman said Wednesday morning while inviting people in the student center to sign the anti-hazing pledge. “We know organizations [haze] to build respect. What’s something positive you can do to build respect [instead]?”