Hazing Prevention Week embraces responsibility

HazingBy Diana Sanchez

Elm Staff Writer

Washington College participated in the National Hazing Prevention Week again.

Anti-hazing Week  began on Oct. 1 with “Donut Haze” in Hodson Hall Commons. Students were encouraged to take a donut and sign a pledge saying they would prevent, report, condemn, and recognize the harm of hazing.

The next day, Hodson Hall Commons hosted “These Hands Don’t Haze,” which saw students place their handprints, name, and organization affiliation on a white tapestry as a symbolic oath to not be part of any form of hazing, and to  report any incidents.

Assistant Director of Student Engagement and S.A.R.A. Coordinator Sarah Tansits was part of the driving force behind the anti-hazing initiative.

“Students are supportive. They are very supportive to put their hands on and say they are not going to haze, they are going to stand up against hazing, [and] be an active bystander,” Tansits said.

Events like “Donut Haze,”  “These Hands Don’t Haze,” and the “Love Mom and Dad” talk inform students about WC’s zero-tolerance hazing policy,  and to teach them that it takes a community to stop hazing.

President of the Panhellenic Council senior Jackie Dulaff oversees sorority life on campus to ensure all chapters are abiding by rules and regulations.

“I am fortunate that during my time on [the Panhellenic Council], I have not yet had to deal with a hazing violation,” Dulaff said. “I think we have shown our campus that hazing at WC will not be tolerated.”

The Oct. 3 “Love Mom and Dad” talk in the Cain Athletic Center had speaker Lianne Kowiak discuss the detrimental effects of hazing. Attendees mainly consisted of athletes, sorority, and fraternity members. Kowiak’s son, Harrison, died from serious brain damage sustained through a fraternity-related hazing event at Lenoir-Rhyne University.

Hazing is a national problem, with 5% of all college students saying they were hazed, according to “Inside Hazing,” a hazing information and prevention website from psychologist Dr. Susan Lipkins.

Kowiak is one of 200 university students to have died from hazing-related accidents in the United States from 1838 to 2017, according to Franklin College Professor of journalism Hank Nuwer.

As the event’s conclusion neared, Kowiak asked students whether they felt that hazing was a problem at WC. Some students did raise their hands, but a majority did not.

The College has a medical amnesty policy which “reduces or eliminates disciplinary consequences for students who obtain medical help for an intoxicated student, guest, or themselves.”

Students are encouraged to call first responders and Public Safety in cases of injury as a result of alcohol or illicit substance consumption. This policy was created to ensure students report incidents, a potentially lifesaving choice.

The fraternity brothers at her son’s university were scared of being reprimanded, according to Kowiak.

“If they had called 911, perhaps [they] could have saved some precious minutes,” Kowiak said.

WC’s anti-hazing policies are available on the WC website under the student handbook, along with resources for students who are victims of hazing or have information about hazing on campus.

Reported incidents are directed to the appropriate staff members: Associate Vice President of Student Affairs and Title IX Coordinator Dr. Candace Wannamaker, Director of Student Engagement Elaine Grant, Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students Sarah Feyerherm, Director of the Department of Public Safety Brandon McFayden, Associate Director of the Department of Public Safety Sue Golinski, and Associate Dean of Students and Director of Residential Life Ursula Herz.

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