Staff Editorial: Make hazing details less hazy

You may remember hearing that a friend of a friend knew of a fraternity member who died after drinking too much. Or that your roommate found out that multiple sororities forced their pledges to do cocaine. Or that this one fraternity pledge’s heart stopped for 2 minutes, and he was later revived – only to go back to his game of beer pong.

These stories are blatant rumors. But they have dominated conversations across campus for the past few months. We hoped that when the University announced punishments for Greek-life organizations after investigating allegations of hazing, University officials would also release specific details surrounding these crimes.

But this did not happen.

Instead, months after the rumors originally surfaced, the majority of students still don’t actually know what happened last semester. What incidents compelled the University to investigate these chapters? Do the punishments these chapters received fit their crimes?

Administrators involved in the investigations – Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Student Judicial Services Tara Pereira, Director of the Student Activities Center Tim Miller and Greek-life Director Christina Witkowicki – need to release more details about the hazing. It is not enough to allude to the fact that the hazing was alcohol-related. Details including where the hazing took place, how many members were involved and, most importantly, what occurred, need to reach the student body.

If the University is to hold the guilty chapters accountable and deter similar incidents of hazing in the future, administrators should not keep quiet about what occurred. Students have a right to know more about these incidents of hazing.

The University has a responsibility to uphold its policy of zero-tolerance for hazing. Losing a house is of course a serious punishment for what we would assume to be a serious hazing infraction. But another facet of any zero-tolerance policy should be to publicize the crimes. The added pressure of organizations’ actions going public should force students to stop before partaking in anything that would be considered hazing.

If the University makes the details of hazing infractions public, it will quash the rumor mill. It will provide more insight into the process by which administrators arrived at the punishments for these crimes. It would benefit all student organizations on campus because they would have a better understanding of the consequences for the actions of what may be a few individuals. It would also fundamentally share this information with those who deserve to know it – the student body.

This has been a lengthy process that has spanned two semesters so far, and now that the University has announced the repercussions of hazing, it is disappointing it did not share what actually occurred. But this situation can be rectified, and the University has a responsibility to release this information immediately.

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