Hazing expert addresses student leaders

Brian Crow

Brian Crow starts the academic year with one goal in mind – “I want to make sure that everyone who starts out the semester, ends the semester, healthy, safe and alive.”

“That doesn’t always happen on every campus.”

An international expert on hazing, Crow brought his sobering message to more than 200 students attending the annual Student Leadership Summit in Kilcawley Center as the fall semester opened last month.

The statistics are startling: More than half of college students involved in clubs, teams and other organizations say they have experienced hazing. One of four university and college advisors or coaches nationwide say they are aware of hazing activities. One-quarter of all hazing incidents occur on campus in a public place. And 95 percent of hazing incidents are never reported to campus officials.

Hazing is about control, power and humiliation, is often sexual in nature and almost always involves some sort of alcohol consumption, said Crow, professor of Sports Management at Slippery Rock University, who has spoken to more than 4,000 student-athletes at more than three dozen colleges and universities. Hazing, he said, is not something just limited to fraternities. Forty-four states have anti-hazing laws. And, he said, hazing is not a tradition. “No hazing is positive,” he said. “Seemingly harmless events can lead to more dangerous activities.”

He encouraged student leaders to have zero tolerance.

“Standing up to hazing isn’t easy,” he said. “It takes a lot of courage to say, ‘We’re not going to do this anymore.’”

Crow also showed a clip from the documentary film “Haze,” which focuses on the death of an 18-year-old freshman at the University of Colorado during a hazing ritual involving alcohol. Watch at http://www.snagfilms.com/films/title/haze.