No Hazing allowed in Greek Life
Anisa Jibrell – News Writer
As greek life gears up for a new semester, students like Lauren Ziolette, president of Omega Zeta Pi and a biochemistry major, reflect on some of the steps that her sorority takes to prevent different forms of hazing, an act known to plague students across the country.
“A lot of things can be labeled as hazing so we really try to take into account how everybody feels,” said Ziolette. “If a new member feels as though they are uncomfortable in any way, shape, or form. That’s an issue.”
HazingPrevention.org, a national organization dedicated to empowering people to prevent hazing, defines hazing as “any action taken or any situation created intentionally that causes embarrassment, harassment or ridicule and risks emotional and/or physical harm to members of a group or team, whether new or not, regardless of the person’s willingness to participate.”
Ziolette said her organization tries its best to plan ahead by frequently holding meetings to ensure that every member is comfortable with decisions that are being made.
“We try to put ourselves into their shoes, remember how we felt and try to think about how they might feel so we can avoid any uncomfortable situations,” said Ziolette. “Situations where they might feel targeted, any situations where there might be a hierarchy, or feel lower than us.”
In order to prevent traditions from becoming just another form of hazing, Ziolette said her organization tries it best to modify old traditions.
“Now, we try to take our traditions and make them more fun,” said Ziolette. “So more of like a celebration using our traditions.”
The university’s hazing policy states that, “all organizations, groups, clubs, sports teams, fraternities and sororities must understand that hazing in any form is prohibited. Members will not engage in any action or situation that produces mental or physical discomfort or endangers the safety of an individual for the purpose of initiation or admission into, or affiliation with, their organizations.”
In the event that a sorority or fraternity is accused of hazing, it must stop all activity and the accused individuals are temporarily suspended while the Office of Judicial Affairs investigates all allegations, according the policy.
“We take the time to learn about each other, spend time with each other, learn about the history of the fraternity and that’s really what brotherhood is about,” said Rob Marona, president of Beta Mu Sigma.
Marona said that mandatory workshops give new members a run-down of what the school considers hazing. Workshops usually include advisors, teachers and a keynote speaker.
“All of our brothers know the policy on hazing but we go there to refresh our memory,” said Marona. “That gives us good knowledge of what we can or can’t do.”
Roughly, more than half of students in colleges and universities who participate in clubs, sports teams or organizations have experienced hazing, according to HazingPrevention.org.
Marona explains that bigger schools are usually the culprits when it comes to unregulated greek life, where more boozing is involved.
“Southern’s greek life is very regulated,” said Marona. “Our student life understands what’s going on and if anything happens, they talk to us the next day about it because they already know.”
Despite misconceptions, Ziolette stresses that greek life has made nothing but a positive impact on her life.
“It’s by far one of the best decisions I’ve made at Southern,” said Ziolette. “Whenever you tell people you’re in a sorority you always get a look and I feel like it is because of the hazing stories that go around. They don’t look at them as something that uplifts people.”
Photo Credit: Greek Life Facebook