I attended JMU’s Hazing Prevention Training and Here’s What I Thought

(Edited on 10/25 by ringsherbell) The university required all executive members of JMU organizations to attend a training hosted by the Center of Student Engagement. The presentation was intended to educate the community about what hazing is and how it can result in something as serious as death. This is an important idea to continue to promote amongst communities where intentions are important. There should be no double standard about that; however, how relevant was this topic to the group it was presented to? 

According to other university sources, hazing primarily happens among sports and greek organizations on college campuses. So, why was this presented as a universal presentation for all executive members? Hazing results in violence and other forms of harm, something the university made clear. However, anyone living on a college campus would know the real problem is Greek life. When attending the meeting, the only thing I could think of was that the people that should have been targeted in this presentation were men in Greek life, who proportionally were missing at the meeting.  

Unfortunately, the problem of hazing affects all young people across JMU’s campus, no matter what organization they are a part of.  However, it felt hypocritical to preach these ideas to other JMU organizations when the problem is Greek life, and there wasn’t a large amount of them in attendance. I have witnessed, first hand, men having to drink goldfish out of alcohol bottles and I have heard of instances of harassment encouraged by Greek life member at sponsored events. This hazing culture in fraternities not only affects members, but also women who attend these events. This is perpetuated by the advertisement from Greek organizations of what kind of events are happening off campus.  

Women in Greek organizations have expressed frustration and fear due to the lack of support from the university and Greek executives when it comes to the harassment associated with hazing. These events hosted by the Greek life on campus promote the mistreatment of women and all people on campus. Women in Greek life have come forward about being forced to attend sponsored events where they are required to bring a male partner to attend. This encouragement of heteronormative events is a driving factor in the perpetuation of specific hazing tactics.

While this is a universal issue, the feminist take is that we should support the women in Greek life to not only prevent hazing in their own organizations, but encourage the lack of involvement in hazing of male Greek life organizations. In conjunction to this idea, women should not be forced to bring male counterparts to these “date functions.” These two ideas in conjunction can create spaces where communities can be built on support and the true meaning of Greek life: sister and brotherhood.

As a JMU community, we should promote consent no matter what organization we’re in.  This includes, drinking alcohol, sex, and all other activities included in the hazing process. Not only are women affected by this, but also men, trans people, and nonbinary people. This is why I felt like the event did not target the specific audience it should have. I am involved in a writing club with no initiation process. So, this meeting should have been attended mostly by members of Greek life who have a history of hazing instances. What can we do as a JMU community to promote the safety of joining these organizations? 

2 thoughts on “I attended JMU’s Hazing Prevention Training and Here’s What I Thought

  1. This is SO important! Hazing is such a big issue on college campuses and it needs to be stopped.


  2. I really like this post! This is an incredibly important topic and I thank you for bringing light to it. I really liked how you had a call to action at the end wrapping up the post to let us know what we could and should be doing to help.


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