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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

How organizations, Greek life enforce anti-hazing measures

Texas+State+theater+senior+Krystal+Bennett+dances+during+Hump+Day+surrounded+by+Sigma+Gamma+Rho+Inc.%2C+Wednesday%2C+Nov.+29%2C+2023%2C+at+the+LBJ+Mall.
Felix Menke
Texas State theater senior Krystal Bennett dances during Hump Day surrounded by Sigma Gamma Rho Inc., Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023, at the LBJ Mall.

As the spring semester commences at Texas State, so does a new recruitment season for Greek life. Fraternity and Sorority Life (FSL) and individual chapters undertake anti-hazing measures to ensure a safe and inclusive recruitment process for new members.

According to FSL’s hazing memorandum, hazing is defined as, “any intentional, knowing or reckless act… by one person alone or acting with others, directed against a student, that endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student for the purpose of pledging, being initiated into, affiliating with, holding office in or maintaining membership in an organization.”

Bob Dudolski, FSL’s associate director for student involvement and engagement, said the hazing memorandum comes from the university’s Dean of Students Office and applies to all student organizations, including Greek life.

“We’re constantly needing to reeducate… we cannot just assume the leaders know what’s right and what’s wrong when they come in,” Dudolski said.

Dudolski also said when a new member joins a fraternity or sorority, beyond the conversations they have within the chapter, FSL provides them with an acceptance form they need to sign that outlines the alcohol, drug and hazing policy.

As a chapter moves from the recruitment stage into the new member education stages, FSL requires it to fill out its own form on expectations, a timeline of what its education process will look like and state when the members will be initiated.

“Our office provides risk management training each semester for the chapter officers,” Dudolski said. “One is mandated by the state of Texas and we also provide additional training for the officers so they understand not just risk management, but also the liability they hold being responsible for an organization.”

Texas State’s Greek life organizations take part in National Hazing Prevention Week (NHPW), which is in the last full week of September, to promote anti-hazing efforts and raise awareness of its dangers.

Alanna Rivas, president of Texas State’s Multicultural Greek Council (MGC), said fall 2023’s NHPW included events like profit shares, getting signatures for anti-hazing pledges on The Quad and guest speakers. In September 2023, the guest speakers included parents whose kids died or were affected by hazing.

Rivas said in addition to the risk management and hazing training provided through FSL and Texas State, MGC members partake in their own training that caters to their organization.

“For those trainings, we even talk about instances of hazing that have happened on our campus in the past because it’s really important to not ignore the past and instead to learn from it and know we can grow from there,” Rivas said.

Emma Dillon, a Gamma Phi Beta member and a criminal justice sophomore, said her chapter operates on a “see something, say something” basis as per the chapter’s president.

Dillon highlighted the importance of collaboration with the sorority’s headquarters to promote a sense of safety with hazing.

“We’ve seen what hazing does to people… when incidents happen we sit together and see what we can do to help an affected family,” Dillon said. “My chapter and our headquarters will donate [to the family’s GoFundMe page] and help out the families because we don’t want that happening on our campus.”

On Nov. 13, 2017, Texas State student Matthew Ellis died from ethanol toxicity when his blood alcohol level was 0.38, four times the legal limit. His death was a result of a fraternity induction process into Phi Kappa Psi where he was provided with alcohol, despite being under the legal drinking age. As a result, all Texas State Greek life organizations were suspended for four months and the university tightened its hazing policy.

Dudolski said the repercussions of hazing are dependent on the situation at hand and on whether or not it is a first-time offense. However, when a hazing allegation is made, FSL immediately reports it to the Dean of Students.

“The Student Conduct officers within the Dean of Students Office will take the lead to interview students and look at any [proof], and [FSL] waits for the next steps if a fraternity or sorority is found in violation of hazing,” Dudolski said.

Dudolski said FSL does not usually find hazing incidents happen during the recruitment process, but when the new members have already joined the chapter and the education process begins, which is why chapters are required to send FSL its timeline and education program schedules.

Rivas said one of the most eye-opening lessons she’s learned is hazing can start out small but then spiral into a bigger issue.

“When you start off small you don’t even realize it’s happening until it’s too late and then you’re in danger, other people are in danger or you’re just not happy,” Rivas said. “It’s really important that from the get-go we focus on building members up in the right direction.”

Meagan Walters

 

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