Hazing Continues at UT Austin

Hazing continues at UT Austin –

Fraternities and sororities dominate the list of those recently punished in hazing incidents, according to a University of Texas at Austin report released Monday.

The report defines hazing as any intentional, knowing or reckless act, occurring on or off the campus of an educational institution. Over the last three years, UT-Austin has disciplined 24 student organizations for hazing, 21 of which were fraternities or sororities. Penalties for these organizations included the organizations suspension from the university, suspension of rights and privileges, or expulsion.

The UT system estimated in a 2013 report that more than 50 percent of students involved in any type of club, team, or campus organizations have engaged in at least one hazing behavior meant to humiliate, degrade, abuse, or endanger others. Sara LeStrange, spokeswoman for the office of the dean of students, said the university takes hazing very seriously.

“Hazing is definitely an important issue here at UT,” LeStrange said, “alcohol educational programs have been implemented at UT as well as the Immunity Program that is used to encourage folks to report incidents related to hazing.”

Specifically among the alcohol education programs available to students is The Hazing and Alcohol Online Training Module that new UT students are required to complete. The learning objectives on the module cover the definition of hazing, implications of hazing as they relate to UT and state law, knowledge of how to report hazing, and tools to create change in UT organizations.

A member of the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity that asked to remain anonymous, explained what his organization is doing to cut back on the possibility of being reported for a second time while they await their pending penalty.

“It was scary to realize that we could not only have our parties cut back, but even be kicked off campus,” he said, “in the past couple months we’ve reduced the amount of ‘pre-games’ we have as well as the amount of people we let come to our house during our larger parties. We’ve really taken this seriously and don’t want to see it happen again.”

Although organizations are informed of the possible consequences of hazing related issues, the problem is still present on and off the UT campus. The UT administration is making strides to spark a change.

A task force on hazing and alcohol was formed in the spring semester of 2013 at the request of Chairman W. Eugene Powell with the support of the UT System Board of Regents and has been instituted to work with The Office of Academic Affairs to decrease these hazing related incidents.

The two groups will work together to develop a website to facilitate training modules, hazing prevention efforts, and binge-drinking awareness programs. The task force expects the site to be ready for the Fall 2014 semester.

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