Presenter to discuss the harm in hazing

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Ritual embarrassment, ridicule and its prevention will be discussed in a lecture on Wednesday.

Hank Nuwer, writer and social critic, will be giving a presentation regarding hazing in colleges and universities at 7 p.m. on Wednesday in the Grand Ballroom of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union. 

Nuwer’s speech “When Rites Become Wrongs” is about hazing within colleges and universities. 

Nuwer currently teaches journalism at Franklin College in Indiana. 

He does philanthropy with HazingPrevention.org and the Buffalo State Hank Nuwer Hazing Collection. He is a columnist for Stophazing.org. He has a daily blog that speaks on hazing prevention.

Nuwer said high school and university students sometimes have a hard time identifying hazing. 

“So many students do not recognize what hazing is. Hazing is a huge problem for high school,” he said. 

According to the Eastern Illinois University Interfraternity Council’s hazing policy, “hazing is any act or situation on or off campus, initiated, planned, sanctioned or joined in by one or more persons associated with an athletic team or student organization.”

The policy further stipulates that hazing causing embarrassment, harassment, or ridicule to or which involves participation in a code violation or an illegal act by, or which causes or places in danger of causing physical or mental harm to, any member or any student affiliated with the organization.

Nuwer said he will consider the lecture successful when individuals become educated on the topic of hazing and its effects. 

“I hope I can at least get one student to gain knowledge about hazing and the seriousness of it,” Nuwer said. 

Angie Bradley, a junior biological sciences major and the lecture coordinator for the University Board, said everyone should attend because hazing is not a fleeting problem. 

“Hazing happens all the time. When there are new members (to a group), some sort of hazing happens,” she said.

Nuwer said the goal of the lecture is to get inside the heads of the audience. 

“Whether it’s a student or a faculty member, I just want people to leave with the knowledge of hazing,” Nuwer said.

Nuwer stresses that he is not an anti-hazing speaker, but more of a journalist. 

“I just present the facts,” he said.

Bradley said that hazing probably still happens, although it is morally wrong and against university policy. 

Bradley said Nuwer will have advice for students who attend the presentation. She said the story has greater meaning if people attend rather than reading about it. 

“If students don’t attend, they will miss lots of advice,” Bradley said.  “The story has a greater impact when your there and not if you hear about it.” 

Nuwer said the event will be a success because the information being presented is something that needs to be learned.

Nuwer said the students that do not go to the lecture will miss vital information that can help many students. 

“Even if you are not hazed, chances are you will run into it at some point whether it’s from your family or friends,” Nuwer said. “This lecture will teach how to confront it if necessary.”

Michael Knuth can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]