Part of the college experience is finding out who you are as an individual, as well as meeting others who share similar values and interests. Being involved on campus is a great way to meet new people and put yourself out there. UCA offers many opportunities for students to figure out where they fit in.
One of these is Greek life. Multiple sororities and fraternities are part of UCA’s community, each of them with members who share similar visions in valuing leadership and campus service. Going Greek is a way to participate in and organize campus activities and give back to the community. Social life is guaranteed if you’re a student looking to be part of a sisterhood or brotherhood, surrounded by people who will support you. Isn’t that what Greek life is about?
While most Greek aspects are positive, new sorority and fraternity members can experience some form of hazing to be initiated. UCA’s website defines hazing as any act where “any student(s) attacks or intimidates another student through threats, ignominy, shame or disgrace.”
Within the past year, UCA witnessed multiple hazing acts. In one case, the victim sustained major injuries and the prosecutor was charged with class B misdemeanors, which can result in fines, jail time or both, one count of felony second-degree battery for inflicting physical violence and four hazing counts.
Hazing acts do not have to be that extreme when initiating new members into sororities or fraternities. Any act performed by new Greek members not performed by the sorority or fraternity as a whole can be considered hazing.
Whether it is having new members pick up after the group or wear uniforms not required by everyone else, it is still considered hazing because part of the one group is being subjected to non-mandatory rules.
Fortunately, UCAPD is taking steps to put a stop to hazing. As part of National Campus Safety Awareness Month, the UCA community hosted a hazing prevention event during x-period Sept. 9 at the Student Center Amphitheater, where students and faculty made commitments to stop hazing by leaving their fingerprints on a banner.
To continue raising awareness about negative hazing effects, the banner will be displayed during the awareness walk during x-period Sept. 11 at the football practice field.
Speaking with Greek members, it seems as if UCA Greek life is educated about hazing and generally stays away from it.
To students interested in bidding for a sorority or fraternity, the benefits seem to dominate. However, UCA is adamant about guaranteeing safety and fair treatment to all students, which should make students feel comfortable.
Incidents on campus, including hazing, can occur at any time, so it is important for us to know when we are witnessing such an atrocity. UCA takes pride in being a community that each student is part of. To report hazing incidents, simply contact UCAPD and file a police report.
National Campus Safety Awareness Month is one of the many ways to stay educated and help raise hazing awareness on campus.