Dealing with hazing

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Dealing with hazing

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How could I deal with hazing if I know that my son or daughter is in a group that hazes? Well, first of all, take a step back and assess just how bad the hazing problem is. You can’t deal with hazing which might be simply putting on funny clothing and look at it the same way as requiring someone to drink. In terms of the most dangerous types of hazing – beatings, sexual assaults, alcohol – would be the ones that should be a red flag. And it’s a red flag in more ways than one. 44 states have laws against hazing where it’s actually criminal. Your son or daughter may be involved in a situation that has gotten out of hand. It’s kind of like thinking about shoplifting – you can’t say I’m going to cut back on my shoplifting. You can’t cut back on hazing, really. It has to be cut out entirely. So what do you do? You keep a record. You have a log. You try to write down the specifics. You look if there’s been physical abuse for bruises. You find out if maybe somebody in that fraternity or sorority ended up at a hospital. And you keep a record of those kinds of things. And you don’t always expect administrators at the school level or even some national fraternity people to cooperate with you. Your being armed with facts is the best thing that you could do. In a worst case scenario, if you’re not getting help, getting an attorney who’s experienced in hazing may be the way to go. On the other hand, often national fraternities will cooperate with you. Often schools are only too happy to work with you. You have to assess the reality of the situation – every situation is different.

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Hank Nuwer

Hazing Expert

Hank Nuwer is a writer and social critic who writes on the topic of hazing as an international human rights abuse issue and USA high school and campus safety issue. The State University of New York's Buffalo State College awarded him a Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1999 and Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters in 2006 for his long career as a hazing historian and researcher. His first investigative story on hazing appeared in 1978 for Human Behavior Magazine, including his groundbreaking interview on hazing as a form of Groupthink conducted with Groupthink theorist Irving Janis.  

Hazing, Alcohol Use, College Transition
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