A recent bill with the goal of eradicating hazing in university and college organizations could change how institutions across the nation deal with it through increasing a universities’ transparency online.
Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, and Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-Pa., introduced the “END ALL Hazing Act” in the House on June 13. The legislation would require that universities maintain a website featuring clear information on the policy violations of its fraternities and sororities. The website, which must be updated at least twice a year, would also display current school policy and corrective measures for violations.
If the bill proceeds, colleges would also be mandated to contact law enforcement within 72 hours following hazing-related injuries or serious risk to students.
“Hazing has threatened the health and safety of students and undermined the educational mission of higher-education institutions,” Fudge said in a June 13 press release. “The END ALL Hazing Act puts the responsibility of protecting the health and safety of students on the institutions, as well as the student organizations operating on their campuses.”
Hazing is not a new issue for the University of Iowa. Kappa Sigma was suspended for hazing and alcohol use in November, and 11 other fraternities were suspended in October for alcohol use and other policy violations.
Associate Vice President and Dean of Students Angie Reams said UI Fraternity and Sorority Life has taken steps to inform students and families about the actions of each fraternity and sorority through the group’s Community Scorecards, which detail information on each organization’s accomplishments and policy violations.
The Community Scorecard is updated in the fall and spring semesters, similar to the proposed policy outlined in the federal bill. Scorecards from the 2018 fall semester through the 2019 spring semester are the only reports listed on the UI website.
“The University of Iowa’s top priority is the health, safety, and wellness of all students, and we appreciate the efforts that address hazing and student misconduct,” Reams said in an email to The Daily Iowan.
Former Delta Upsilon President and UI student Nate Burnside said hazing has somewhat of a presence on all campuses with greek life. He said there are definitely still some fraternity men who view hazing as essential.
Burnside’s fraternity is one of the 27 remaining at the UI after the barrage of suspensions in late 2018.
“There really is no place in greek life, or any organization for that matter, for hazing,” Burnside said. “The more ways we can prevent that, the more ways we can spread awareness about how harmful hazing really is.”
Fudge said several fraternity and sorority organizations and parents who have lost children to hazing support the new legislation.
“The passing of the END ALL Hazing Act is critically important because we continue to see students being injured or dying at alarming rates as a result of irresponsible hazing behavior at universities,” Evelyn and Jim Piazza, the parents of Timothy Piazza, who died from hazing-related causes at Pennsylvania State University in 2017, said in a June 13 release. “The transparency and awareness that this law will bring will enable students and parents to assess the quality and reputation of the organizations with which students are considering joining.”