Over half of students in organizations, clubs, or sport teams have experienced hazing.

During the end of September is National Hazing Prevention Week, an initiative designed to raise awareness and educate communities about the issue of hazing and promote its prevention, according to hazingprevention.org.

UTA’s own hazing prevention week provides similar opportunity through its student art exhibit, banner signing and learning lunch, Oct 3 through the 6.

"We want to create a climate and a culture that is a positive experience," said John Hillas  , assistant director of student organizations.

According to hazingprevention.org , hazing is described as an action or situation intended to embarrass or risk emotional or physical harm to members of an organization or group, whether they’re willing to participate or not.

Some examples of hazing practices range from enduring hardships such as sleep deprivation or physical labor, to engaging in illegal activities, such as stealing items for scavenger hunts, according to hazingprevention.org.

Hazing tends to be progressive, said Emily Paulwan , executive director of hazingprevention.org, and can quickly and unexpectedly escalate to more serious practices.

The consequences of hazing are numerous, and can affect the one being hazed, the one doing the hazing, as well as the organization, according to hazingprevention.org.

Hazing victims can feel a loss of their sense of control or may struggle in their relationships with family and friends. Those who haze may be subjected to the state’s criminal process or media scrutiny. Organizations suffer through lowered reputations and the diminishing of its values.

If a student believes they've witnessed or have been a victim of hazing, Hillas said, they could contact him, his office, advisors or The Office of Community Standards, or really any faculty or administration.

In the state of Texas, failure to report instances of hazing is a Class B misdemeanor. Other offenses under this section that don’t cause bodily harm are subject to Class B as well.

Any other offence that causes serious bodily injury to another person is a Class A misdemeanor .

Paulwan said hazing doesn’t occur at only the college level, but also high schools and middle schools.

According to a study by Alfred University, 42 percent of athletes that hazed in college hazed in high school as well.

Sports teams, band, Greek life and even honor societies are some of the places where hazing can occur, Paulwan said.

If a student is unsure if the activity they’re undertaking is hazing, they should ask themselves questions such as “Am I doing anything illegal?” or “Does participation in this activity violate my values or those of the organization?” according to hazingprevention.org .

"Students need to speak up speak out," Hillas said. "It's all about being a responsible member of the campus community and being a positive bystander."

@Its_brittany101

news-editor.shorthorn@uta.edu

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