Multiple studies have shown that parents and families are often the number one group that students enduring acts of hazing share their experiences with. Having the correct information about what hazing is and how to report hazing and seek assistance is paramount.
TALKING TO YOUR STUDENT ABOUT HAZING
At Wake Forest University, we believe students should not experience harm or intimidation while pursuing involvement in campus life. Research suggests that students are more likely to talk with parents or family members about a hazing experience than they are with university faculty or staff. If your student discloses a hazing incident they experienced, or you suspect hazing has occurred, please discuss the importance of sharing this information with the university.
Reporting hazing is not about getting students or their friends in trouble. It is about keeping students and the people they care about safe.
Here are a few tips that can help when talking with your student:
- College students are proud of their growing independence. It is important to respect the dilemmas they share and validate any conflict they voice about harmful activities.
- The conversation will probably feel a little different than when your student was in high school.
- People communicate differently.
- Listen to what your student says.
- Sudden change in your student’s communication with you, including frequency, length and general tone, surrounding the time the student is joining the group
- Sudden change in willingness to share the activities he/she/they is involved in with the organization
- Changes in sleeping and eating patterns
- Feeling anger, confusion, embarrassment, helplessness, anxiety and even depression
- Sudden changes in academic performance
- Complaint of new physical ailments – exhaustion, broken bones, sprains, cuts, burns, hangovers, or stomach or head aches, and reasoning of how the injuries happened that don’t quite seem to make sense
- Feel a sense of loyalty to the group and avoid sharing their concerns or fears with anyone for fear the group might get in trouble
- Discussion of wanting to leave the organization/team but being scared or feel there is no way out
If you suspect your student is being hazed
Begin with these questions and statements:
- Let your student know you care about them.
- Are you okay?
- Address your concern. Be specific. Tell your student how you feel.
- Ask your student if they are in the process of joining any club/group/organization/team on campus? If so, what group?
- What types of activities do you do with a club/group/organization/team?
- Are you being forced to do anything unreasonable?
- Do you feel deprived of any necessity (food, shelter, sleep)?
- Is there alcohol involved with any activities?
- If you want to learn more, there is a university website that can help. It is firstname.lastname@example.org.
SOURCE: [adapted from] Florida State University
One out of four college students that report being hazed also talk to their families about their experience.
–National Hazing Study (2008)
Wake Forest currently has three organizations not recognized by the institution:
- Kappa Sigma
- Sigma Nu
- Sigma Phi Epsilon
The organizations also go by the names Barnyard, Kappa Sig, or Delta Omega (Kappa Sigma) Snu or Lambda Alpha (Sigma Nu) or Sig Ep (Sigma Phi Epsilon).
- These organizations do not have the recognition, support or oversight of Wake Forest University, or their national organization.
- There is no insurance coverage to protect the members.
- There is no advisor to help them make good decisions.
- There are no set rules or expectations for how events – especially events with alcohol – are managed.
- Finally, members who are “initiated” into these organizations are not actually members of the fraternity. They do not receive the privileges of membership enjoyed by actual members of the organization. They cannot join alumni chapters when they graduate, volunteer, nor are they on any records through the university or the national organization.
- Furthermore, the students conducting new member education are not trained on Wake Forest or state hazing policies or laws.