Hazed and Confused: The University of Redlands Says, "Not On Our Campus"

Hazing: any action, taken or situation created intentionally that causes embarrassment, harassment or ridicule, risks emotional or physical harm, to members of an organization or team, whether new or not, regardless of the person's willingness to participate.
 
The Alpha Theta Phi sorority at the University of Redlands is breaking new ground.  In October, the students held a Not On Our Campus week to bring awareness to hazing, pledging to stop the hurtful—and sometimes fatal—practice on university campuses. 
 
Earlier in the year, university and sorority alumnna Lauri Massari stepped forward to conduct an anti-hazing training, as a service to the Office of Student Life. But she took it one step further, offering a $500 scholarship to conduct a Not On Our Campus week of activities, the first of its kind at the  university.
 
"This has not been an easy task for these young women because fraternity and sorority traditions at the University of Redlands are 100 years in the making and do not readily embrace the changes required in eliminating hazing," Massari said.
 
The students kicked off the week by posting hazing facts around campus, citing statistics that show 47 percent of high school students and 55 percent of college students in clubs and teams have experienced hazing. Forty-four states have anti-hazing laws and, since 1970, there's been at least one hazing-related death on a college campus annually. 
 
Co-sponsored by the Pi Chi fraternity, Alpha Theta Phi crafted a number of activities that both provided the space for students to discuss hazing and to seek solutions to what is often tradition among fraternities and sororities. 
 
 

Hands Against Hazing: Alpha Theta Phi and Pi Chi asked students to sign images of hands to pledge their support to end hazing. More than 200 students took the pledge, sometimes adding their sport teams or organizations. Organizers strung these hands together and hung them in the campus plaza. 

Film Screening: Organizers screened the documentary Haze. After the film, they posed a number of questions to the audience about hazing, the impact of the film, and prevention.  
  
Bake Sale and Vigil: Organizers sold cookies in the university dorms to both raise funds for Not In Our Town and promote the evening's vigil. At the university chapel, students held a candlelight vigil to remember those lost to hazing, specifically the death of 21-year-old Matthew Carrington, who died as he was pledging a fraternity at Chico State University in 2005. He is the namesake of Matt's Law, the anti-hazing legislation.
 
T-Shirts: Organizers wore T-shirts throughout the week that publicized their work. They read, "Hazed and Confused: Not On Our Campus, Hazing Awareness Week." 
 
For sorority member Dominique Atherly, the Not On Our Campus Week had a positive impact on their sorority and allowed the larger community to get involved. While the hands activity generated the most public action, the film screening left a lasting impression.
 
"I was seriously impacted by the story that was told by the victim's family. Being able to see the effect that hazing has on not only the victim, but also the people who love them, was life changing," Atherly said.
 
Massari commends the University of Redlands students who took on this activity.
 
"I am very proud of what has been accomplished and consider it nothing short of tremendous acts of bravery on the part of these students and their advisors," she said.
 
Last year, Massari launched a hugely successful Not In Our School program in her middle school that inspired a citywide campaign in Lancaster, Calif. Her story is featured in Not in Our Town: Class Actions, which premiered on PBS stations on Feb. 13. 
  
For more information on Not On Our Campus resources, visit niot.org/collegestudentresources

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