The Athletics department and Student Activities hosted a National Hazing Prevention Week panel for club sports teams in Pearson and McGonigle halls on Tuesday. The panel required 10 athletes from each of the 36 club teams to attend the panel.
The panel consisted of Assistant Dean of Students Brian Foley, associate university counsel Cameron Etezady, women’s lacrosse coach Bonnie Rosen and sports and recreation management professor Elizabeth Taylor. Jessica Gray, the student-athlete affairs coordinator, moderated the panel.
The panelists discussed how to recognize hazing, how some team activities may be perceived as hazing, the culture of hazing in athletics and its legal repercussions.
According to the NCAA, 74 percent of student athletes experience at least one form of hazing while participating in collegiate sports, and 47 percent of hazing incidents involve alcohol.
Rosen discussed the team dynamic of hazing and how teammates, especially upperclassmen, should create a comfortable atmosphere for all athletes.
“It is really about you all just taking a moment to decide…do you want to create an environment that is inclusive based on people’s choice, or do you want to leave this sense of ‘you have to do things, and if you don’t fit in we won’t like you,’” Rosen said.
Taylor stressed the importance of teams having conversations about what team activities they find uncomfortable.
“[Hazing] still goes on because it is very ingrained in the culture of sports,” she added. “It is a hierarchical organization. It has to be something that you’re willing to have an honest conversation about, that the leadership can’t be lenient about it.”
Both Taylor and Etezady said that freshmen athletes are subjected to the majority of the hazing on sports teams.
Etezady added that hazing puts students’ emotional and physical well being at stake.
“If you hear the phrase ‘Hey newbies,’ that’s where you’re drawing the line of ‘You’re different than us,’” she said.
Foley reminded the student athletes in the audience of the university consequences for hazing, like educational sanctions, suspension or expulsion.
“Not only are organizations held accountable, but individuals within that organization as well,” Foley added. “If a club, a team or a Greek letter organization is accused of hazing, those individuals involved could be liable as well.”
The panel ended with Gray reminding students of the resources available to them. Students can report hazing to Student Activities, Campus Safety Services, the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards and Tuttleman Counseling Services.