'These Paws Don't Haze'

Students attend the first event in CUSG's Greek Life Education Week.

To promote awareness of hazing within fraternities and sororities, members of student government hosted a workshop in collaboration with Greek Affairs on Nov. 1. The event, “These Paws Don’t Haze,” was the beginning of a series of workshops to be held by Clemson University Student Government (CUSG) Senate.

“I think it is imperative that we not only continue to host events and initiatives through our student government platform addressing hazing, but to also empower other Greek organizations and entities to do the same,” said Gavin Vasquez, the director of Greek Affairs.

The workshop covered the definition of hazing, types of hazing seen on campus and solutions to help control hazing. Event leaders brought up hazing scenarios during group discussions and each group was asked to talk about what they would do in each situation.

“I personally enjoyed getting to go into breakout groups to talk with other students who have either had experiences with hazing in their fraternity or sorority, or just wanted to help stop it,” said Luke Hall, a junior psychology major.

Students also learned about specific safety protocols that can help limit the bystander effect — the idea that students are less likely to help someone who needs medical attention if there are other people standing around.

“I was so surprised to hear that even calling someone a rude name was considered hazing, but honestly, it is so common to most people to go through that when joining a Greek organization,” said Paige Sproule, a sophomore nursing major. “It is easy to think of Greek life with a negative connotation, but it also brings people together and can be a lot of fun if done safely.”

The Alcohol Amnesty Act plays a role in discouraging this inaction, preventing students for being penalized for saving someone’s life if they are drinking as well. First responders cannot take names or report actions while helping students in trouble, according to Malik Balogun, assistant director of Greek Affairs.

“There should be a culture created in Greek Life where people should not have to ask to be safe, and they should never feel uncomfortable. It is a culture standpoint that Greek organizations should talk about upfront and work on having open communication with pledges and members,” said Darryl Capleton, a junior civil engineering major.

The overall objective of the information session was to take the first step towards raising student awareness to make Clemson’s campus safer by opening communication about hazing with Greek life scenarios.

“While I know this meeting’s main goal is to ultimately decrease and stop hazing from happening on campus, that is not feasible in itself, and it is such a common thing that we need help from the fraternities and sororities themselves to take action,” said Balogun. “By starting to talk about it as a group and beginning to recognize negative hazing patterns, students can learn how to speak up and stop it from continuing, which will hopefully lead to a safer and happier campus."

This article appeared in The Tiger’s Nov. 18 print edition. It may differ in formatting or content due to space constraints.


(1) comment

GeoffGilson

I would invite everyone reading this article to stop, take a deep breath, and now read the article again, and this time read it as if the subject matter was police treatment of blacks or sexual misconduct on campus.

Abuse is abuse. A threat is a threat. Assault is assault. No, calling someone a rude name is not acceptable behavior on our campus. Yes, it is feasible to stop it. You just stop it. And as for the advice about bystander syndrome, I am left speechless. The inherent suggestion that we need better to educate students how to help haze-sufferers who might need medical attention staggers belief. Hazing might need medical attention?!

I welcome the fact that CUSG and some Greeks are, at least, admitting there is a problem. But the answer is not to advocate for ‘safer’ hazing; it is to make it quite clear, from the top down, that hazing is not acceptable in any form on our campus.

If CUSG and Clemson receive credible reports of hazing of any kind or sexual misadventure at Greek events, the Greek organization in question, after thorough and proper investigation, should have activities suspended for one semester for first proven offense; suspension for a year for the second offense; and permanent ban for a third offense. And the Greek individuals in question, if proper and due process proves their guilt, should immediately be expelled.

We say we are a family. We are not a family if we allow any sort of activity that demeans anyone. Any activity. At all. We do not condone. We do not minimize. We do not find acceptable levels. And we do not train students to think that such activity resulting in medical attention is somehow normal. C’mon. We’re better than this.

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