Love, Mom & Dad, a keynote address given by the parents of Tim Piazza, Max Gruver, and Marquise Braham, was presented at the 83rd John O. Moseley Leadership School of Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity. The video above reflects a snapshot of what occurred over more than three hours of presentation, dialogue and workshops. The losses felt by Evelyn and Jim Piazza, RaeAnn and Steve Gruver, and Maille and Rich Braham touched all those in attendance.
Following the initial presentation by the parents, the 500 plus attendees spent two hours dialoguing, brainstorming and problem solving. Every man in the audience participated, first in small group sessions to process the message and next in four large groups to develop a commitment and agreed-upon set of actions to take home to their brothers, chapters, campuses and communities. A summary of their commitments was presented on stage to their peers and the parents of Tim, Max and Marquise.
As a sign of their promise, everyone stood and recited the Sigma Alpha Epsilon creed, The True Gentleman, and committed to:
- Recognizing and admitting when the chapter has a hazing problem and seeking out the resources to help stop the behavior before things go too far.
- Identifying and eliminating unproductive or unhealthy traditions and having an honest conversation to create alternatives to ineffective traditions.
- Recruiting the right people and putting the right people in leadership positions.
- Having more opportunities to provide intentional and open discussion relating to getting to know the “whole self”, the “real self.”
- Respecting every brother, no matter how long they have been a member, and engaging the older brothers to set the example and enact change in the culture.
- Creating positive brotherhood-building activities by bringing in positive alumni activities, increase transparency of brotherhood-building activities, partnering with other fraternities and sororities to create a healthy campus-wide Greek practice.
- Stop minding my own business and hold our members and members of other organizations accountable for their actions, because the actions of one reflect on everyone.
- Taking what I have learned home to our brothers, our chapters, our Greek systems, and communities starting today because it starts with ME.
Following the small group sessions was a brief question and answer period. During this time, one of the alumni facilitators offered his help to the undergraduate brothers. He said, “We recognize that some of the biggest challenges you face as undergraduates are the mixed messages sent by those that want to hold onto the past. Many of us are here to help you through those issues. If a member is pushing you to hold onto the past, to maintain practices inconsistent with our mission, Ritual and creed, we urge you to reach out for help. I urge those brothers to let go of the past, and come aboard to be part of our future.” The room erupted in applause.
We recognize that some of the biggest challenges you face as undergraduates are the mixed messages sent by those that want to hold onto the past. Many of us are here to help you through those issues. If a member is pushing you to hold onto the past, to maintain practices inconsistent with our mission, Ritual and creed, we urge you to reach out for help. I urge those brothers to let go of the past, and come aboard to be part of our future.
After the presentation of the undergraduate members, the emotion in the room was palpable. To quote one attendee, “I was so fired up I was ready to run through a wall.”
As the program concluded, the parents challenged the attendees to recognize that “this feeling you have right now will fade” and “words without action are meaningless;” it is up to you to take home what you’ve learned, share it with others and make the right choice.
If you or someone you know has been or are being hazed, help is available. Call toll free 1-888-NOT-HAZE.