Gettysburg recognizes National Hazing Prevention Week
By Nora Tidey, Staff Writer
The time from Sept. 21-25 marked National Hazing Prevention Week (NHPW), and the Gettysburg College community came together to raise awareness and promote education on the issue of hazing.
Hazing is defined as the imposition of strenuous, humiliating and sometimes dangerous tasks as a part of initiation rituals. NHPW is an opportunity to learn how to recognize instances of hazing and how to prevent those instances from occurring.
Throughout each day of NHPW, The Gettysburg chapter of Sigma Sigma Sigma (a sorority informally known as “Tri Sigma”) held a CUB table dedicated to hazing prevention. Students were able to sign an anti-hazing pledge “to prevent hazing before it occurs, stop hazing when I see it happening, report it when I know it has transpired and help empower others to do the same in their organizations, schools and communities.”
Students could trace their hands and sign their names to show that they took the pledge and stand against any and all forms of hazing.
Mia Phillips ‘16, the secretary of Tri Sigma, explained that the sorority holds a national stance against hazing and utilizes the slogan “Power With, Not Power Over” to emphasize that stance.
On the evening of Sept. 24 of NHPW, Gamma Phi Beta and the Panhellenic Council sponsored a hazing prevention presentation, in which Kim Novak, a national expert in student-focused risk management, discussed student engagement in campus safety efforts and hazing prevention. Novak has credentials linking her to the cause: she has served on the U.S. Department of Education Center for Alcohol, Other Drugs and Violence Prevention, as well as on numerous other higher education organizations.
Novak said she became involved in hazing prevention when she served as a student conduct official and engaged with whom she described as amazing men and women who were “stellar scholars and leaders,” but who were also perpetrators of hazing in their organizations. Novak said she wanted to learn more about why this occurs and about what can be done to stop these incidents.
Members of the Greek community and athletic community, as well as other students interested in learning about hazing prevention, filled the ballroom to hear Novak’s talk.
Novak reminded everyone that hazing is against college policy, state law, council policy and organization standards and that between 2012 and today there have been 24 hazing-related deaths. An engaging and relatable speaker, Novak highlighted the point that “this behavior has never been okay; it has just been tolerated” and encouraged students to see hazing for what it really is: problematic and harmful behavior. Novak stated that initiation processes into fraternities, sororities, athletic teams and other organizations need to change; hazing should not be used as an avenue for gaining acceptance or solidarity.
Throughout her talk Novak emphasized the importance of not being a bystander, even mentioning the Green Dot bystander intervention program that Gettysburg College has recently become involved with. She emphasized the idea that everyone can play a role in reducing and ultimately eliminating hazing through following the steps of Tri Sigma’s anti-hazing pledge and through becoming educated on the detrimental effects of hazing on the college community. Even those who are not involved in Greek organizations or athletics can make a positive impact.