By Colin Malone
National Hazing Prevention Week (NHPW) ties up today after five days and two events focused around spreading knowledge about hazing and preventing it. Jason Chapman, Assistant Director of Student Activities, organized the events.
“When people talk about hazing, it’s not the most interesting thing,” Chapman said. “So the goal isn’t just to educate students about it, but to do it in an entertaining way instead of just lecturing them.”
Monday opened the week with a panel discussion featuring Republican Candidate for Georgetown District Attorney, Jana Duty; former University of Texas basketball player and co-host of The Game on 104.9 ESPN Radio, J.D. Lewis; and Destiny McKinney, Director of Campus Life at Huston-Tillotson University.
“You can get six months to a year in jail [for hazing], and if it results in a death you’re looking at a felony,” Duty said. “But if you come forward and report it, you can be exempt from prosecution, even if you were a participant.”
The panel attendees included sorority and fraternity members and leaders.
“We average about 45 attendees each time we hold a panel event, and those are mostly organization members,” Chapman said. “But we have more people attending this year because of our relationships between Student Activities and the organization leaders.”
Thursday followed with a screening of the documentary Unless a Death Occurs, a program about Walter Dean Jennings, a Plattsburgh State University College freshman who died because of fraternity hazing.
“I worked with several leaders of the Greek groups here on campus to decide how to get hazing information out to students,” Chapman said. “We have a Hazing Prohibition Notice that every organization has to review during a meeting and have each member sign, saying that they have received that information.”
Hazing laws are state-determined, and each Texas school works within its hazing statutes to develop their own procedures.
“We work within the Texan hazing statute and expand on it to make it easier for our students to understand and follow,” Chapman said. “The amount of people aware of the dangers of hazing has surely grown through NHPW, and those people are more comfortable with reporting hazing because of it.”