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Inside the hot-button hazing issue: Shenandoah’s internal response and preventative measures

Rachel Stalker, ’Doah Staff Writer
March 6, 2013

Hazing has been an infrequent problem on our campus. In the last 10 years, there has not been a single case. This may have been because we were not fully aware of how it was defined. Now, following the recent investigation into Alpha Psi Omega (APO), Vice President of Student Life Rhonda Van Dyke Colby and Director of Student Engagement Rick McClendon are working to ensure that a lack of knowledge never stands in our way again.

Colby and McClendon have begun by working with all of the Greek organizations on campus. They will all be educated on all the three forms of hazing: harassment, violent and subtle. “Greek organizations will have a peer to peer conversation, an open dialogue about what’s happened. It will be honest. There will be no more bystanders; they will then know how to prevent hazing and how to intervene when necessary,” stated McClendon.

Colby also discussed the idea of tradition within Greek organizations. “Some hazing is justified by talk of tradition. And what I know about tradition is that, if something is wrong, doing it over and over again does not make it right.” Each Greek organization is now participating in a self-audit. The student executive board for each group will evaluate their national charter’s rules on hazing and see how well their organizations match up to their headquarters’ regulations. Colby has asked McClendon to help these organizations, and our campus in general, ensure that we are hazing free. These changes will help to empower these groups to continue the conversation about hazing across campus.

At some point in the near future, Colby and McClendon would like to see all clubs, sports teams and Greek organizations educate themselves as to what hazing is, and where to draw the line between initiation rituals and harmful treatment of its members or players.

As for APO, the next step is to move forward. Colby said that they have been very receptive to all of the new information about hazing that has come about due to this incident. “It may seem strange to say that I am proud of everyone involved, but I am,” said Colby, “they are championing the change.”

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