Archive for Sunday, February 13, 2011

KU taking new approach to curb hazing

February 13, 2011


Kansas University continues to refine its policies toward hazing after the issue flared up twice this academic year.

KU placed its chapter of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity on a two-year probation after an investigation revealed hazing occurred at the fraternity’s annual island party in September. At that party, KU freshman Matt Fritzie was left paralyzed after diving into a makeshift pool.

The university is also mulling sanctions for its Interfraternity Council, a student leadership group whose mission includes promoting the greek community. A KU report found that members of that group committed hazing violations relating to paddling one another.

While the university community deals with these incidents, they’ll also be looking at hazing in a new way.

Moving forward, all hazing cases will be handled by KU’s new student conduct officer, Nick Kehrwald. He’s been on the job only a couple of weeks since coming to KU from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, where he held a similar position.

Hazing investigations had previously been conducted by assistant vice provosts in the office of the vice provost for student success.

Kehrwald, who has a law degree, said students should notice a more proactive approach. Having a full-time staffer devoted to all kinds of nonacademic misconduct will allow for more outreach and educational opportunities, he said.

Jane Tuttle, assistant vice provost for student success, said hazing investigations shouldn’t be about pointing fingers, but instead should focus on getting everyone to be part of the solution.

“I don’t think that KU’s any different than any other school,” she said. “But I think that there’s work to be done.”

Another option, if the issue persists, could be more intensive educational programs, or bringing in a consultant to do an audit to determine how much hazing is actually occurring here, she said.

An anti-hazing task force has also been convened at KU and met twice so far, said Aaron Dollinger, chief of staff for KU’s student senate. He serves on the task force.

“We’ve clearly had some issues on campus this year that are not OK,” he said. “People need to be held accountable for that.”

The task force is looking for ways to make reporting hazing easier, he said. The university’s general counsel is helping to look for ways to keep accusers’ identities secret while ensuring that the accused perpetrators defend themselves and have a fair due process.

One way that can be accomplished, Kehrwald said, is by ensuring that investigations are conducted in a specific way. Speed is key so members of a group don’t have time to concoct a phony story and get their details straight.

Anonymity can be protected by conducting interviews concurrently and to interview as many people as possible so the accuser isn’t singled out, Kehrwald said.

Now that he’s on board, he’ll visit a variety of groups — even outside the greek system. Hazing can occur wherever groups exist, he said — in athletics, in fraternities and even in the band.

Dollinger said the task force on which he serves and the university at large are trying to foster a culture where people first understand what is and isn’t hazing, and then feel comfortable about reporting it.

“It’s not brotherhood when someone hits you with a paddle, and it’s not brotherhood when someone forces you to drink,” he said. “And it’s OK to come forward when these things happen.


Bob Forer 7 years, 4 months ago

Funny. The leadership group designed to put "the good face" of frat life forward caught with their pants down. In light of the recently reported serious violations of the "no hazing" rule, I am dumbfounded by their arrogance and stupidity. And these are their leaders? Time for the KU administration to pull their official recognition and support of the Greek system.

slowplay 7 years, 4 months ago

You don't throw the whole bushel out when there are only a few bad apples. Your stereotyping is ignorant at best. Almost all fraternities/sororities devote a tremendous amount of time to community service. Their members usually excel in academics, are strong team leaders and members, have advanced social skills, build lifelong friendships and have a support group long after graduation. That said, there has to be accountability for improper choices, as there should be for any organization on campus. There are about 35 Greek organizations (5,000 students) on campus and you want KU to pull their official recognition and support of the Greek system? Sorry, that's not going happen.

Flap Doodle 7 years, 4 months ago

Wow, you've got the party line down pat, slow.

Majestic42 7 years, 4 months ago

How about instead of the two extremes (One being "All Greek organizations help the community" and the other "All Greek organizations kill freshmen"), we figure out why the f#$% frats and sororities feel the need to haze those younger then them? And why do younger students feel this urge to please their superiors? Does it really matter? Address the rampant insecurity and identity crises on campus and perhaps we'll take care of the problem. And I will retweet what ophiuchus said: "I wouldn't want to be a member of any club that would haze me."

Jacks_Smirking_Revenge 7 years, 4 months ago

Sounds like there' s a new sheriff in town. What worries me is defining hazing. I mean, if a fraternity were to have made members run around the house every time they broke a rule, then that is hazing. However, that's what athetics does daily. You screw up, take a lap. You start into the winter break looking like garabage, it's two-a-days. So it will be interesting to see how this new department determines hazing since in Mr. Kehrwahl's words, "Hazing can occur wherever groups exist."

P.S. anyone have figures on where the funding for this new department is coming?

tomatogrower 7 years, 4 months ago

I never understood hazing. Why would you want to belong to a group that would mistreat you? What is the point?

Jacks_Smirking_Revenge 7 years, 4 months ago

The origins of hazing come through the military. Historically, military training is breaking down an individual through extreme physical conditioning and mental challenges to place the group first. Many fraternities were founded at military colleges and carry a historical connection to this past. So throughout the years, there has been a perversion of this military thought, to break down the individual which brings the group closer as it works to achieve common goals. Then the perversion becomes a tradition, a rite of passage, that helps certain people feel as if they have succeeded and become more than just themselves.

xclusive85 7 years, 4 months ago

How about this: 1) 1st offense gets probation. They must do some sort of service to the University. It could be painting handrails, helping with landscaping, picking up trash, shoveling snow. 2) 2nd offense gets expulsion. No third chance.

kusp8 7 years, 4 months ago

Hahahahaha.....yeah, I'm sure the band has a whole lot of hazing problems......unless you mean drinking way too much when the pepbands go places. Other than that I've never heard from my ex band friends about any hazing. Way to deflect dummy.

beerdrinkingfool 7 years, 4 months ago

wow here is a idea. why don't KU just ban them and be done with all this trouble

Wendy magillicutty 7 years, 4 months ago

I don't understand why anyone would haze a curb.

kusp8 7 years, 4 months ago

It's because curbs are painted yellow, like Missouri

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