Monday marks the beginning of Hazing Prevention Week at UTA, bringing with it a student art exhibit, a banner signing and an appearance at National Night Out.
Every year, students, faculty and staff are encouraged to participate in activities intended to educate the community on how to recognize hazing and respond.
Hazing is defined as any action taken or situation created intentionally to cause humiliation, harassment or ridicule, risking emotional and/or physical harm to any members of a group, regardless of the person’s willingness to participate, according to HazingPrevention.org.
Hazing involves people trying to “earn” their way into a group, whereas bullying singles out a person and excludes them, according to HazingPrevention.org. Hazing is about inclusion, and bullying is about exclusion.
The Hazing Prevention Week Planning Committee, which includes psychology and history junior Katie Gosa and political science senior Ashford Sonii, coordinated booths and events to advocate awareness and open the conversation.
The committee has also planned an appearance at National Night Out Tuesday, an event hosted by UTA Police.
The campus community can peruse the University Center Art Gallery for an interactive exhibit and signs a banner in support of anti-hazing efforts 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
Hazing Prevention Week will conclude with a free lunch and forum on the subject 12:30 to 1 p.m. Thursday in the University Center Palo Duro Lounge. It’s open to all students, faculty and staff.
Attendees can learn more about hazing and what actions they can take. This Lunch and Learn is co-sponsored by Mavs StandUp and UTA Bystander Initiative.
Someone can be hazed without realizing it, Gosa said in an email. Some people confuse hazing as a normal part of a group’s dynamic. These events are meant to raise awareness and emphasize the impact hazing has on people.
Nine out of 10 students who experience hazing do not consider themselves to have been hazed, according to StopHazing.org. Most frequently reported hazing behaviors include participating in a drinking game, singing or chanting in a public situation, associating with certain groups of people but not with others, being deprived of sleep and enduring yelling, screaming and cursing from others.
“UTA is an amazing university,” Gosa said. “We want to make sure that we treat each other in healthy, respectful ways.”
There is no reason for hazing, Sonii said. This week aims to teach people in the community how to identify hazing and stand up for themselves or others. One person can make a difference in someone else’s life, Sonii said.
Of those who labeled their experiences as hazing, 95 percent said they did not report the events to campus officials, according to the National Study of Student Hazing, led by University of Maine researchers Elizabeth Allan and Mary Madden.
Hazing is an issue that impacts colleges, especially, Gosa said. People can get involved on campus in many ways, and UTA wants to make sure this involvement is healthy and safe.
“Hazing isn’t OK,” Gosa said. “It isn’t something you need to go through to be accepted into a group. Healthy relationships are based on equal power, not control.”
In 25 percent of hazing experiences, students reported alumni were present, according to StopHazing.org. Some students believe coaches or advisors were aware of such activities.
The Division of Student Affairs has been supporting hazing prevention efforts and programming for more than five years, said Melissa Sanders, Hazing Prevention Week Planning Committee head.
“The goal is always to engage students in not only a conversation about hazing, but to empower them with the tools needed to be able to confront and report instances big and small,” Sanders said in an email.