Our View: Hazing, though sometimes vague, should be reported

DKS Editors

The desire to fit in is not a new phenomenon, and it can be felt each year as Kent State students join one or more of the Center for Student Involvement’s 200 student organizations on campus. The organizations range from fraternities to club sports teams, according to HazingPrevention.org

The national prevention organization reported more than half of the students on college campuses across the country have dealt with hazing firsthand; however, nine out of 10 of those hazed said they wouldn’t consider their experience hazing.

So the question becomes: Do members of student organizations simply view hazing as a rite of passage, or are they too scared to report it to authorities?

Ohio law defines it as “doing any act or coercing another, including the victim, to do any act of initiation into any student or other organization that causes or creates a substantial risk of causing mental or physical harm to any person.”

Hazing does not mean the same thing to every person. What one person finds amusing; another finds degrading, so student organization leaders need to be in tune with the views of their members and the university.

Hazing isn’t limited to sports teams or Greek organizations. It can be found in any student organization across the nation and has a wide range of possibilities.

Making a freshman do an unwanted task just because he is a freshman? Hazing. Depriving new members of certain privileges because she hasn’t been in the organization as long as others? Hazing. Isolating underclassmen from group activities or conversations? Hazing.

The goal of this week is to educate yourselves and your organizations, so you both are equipped with the knowledge needed to act on and to prevent situations involving hazing. Be proactive in ensuring the mental and physical safety of your peers.