Over the next several months, a committee will be developed to focus on addressing issues related to hazing. Vice President of Student Life Timothy Sams wants the committee to focus on hazing prevention and education.
A main focus of the group will be to educate the community about the risks of hazing. The committee will also work to see how the community can address and rectify any problems before any individual or group becomes affected.
Hoping to create a diversity of opinion, the group would consist of students, staff, faculty, and alumni. Students involved in union clubs, varsity athletics, club athletics, greek organizations, and any other groups would also contribute to the committee. Associate Dean of the Greek Life Commons Matthew Hunt has initiated the formation of said committee.
“This effort is a proactive and cooperative effort to increase the awareness of hazing prevention and to help further ensure a safe and welcoming environment for all students, faculty, staff, and alumni at Rensselaer,” Hunt said.
The Rensselaer Student Handbook of Student Rights defines hazing as “… any conduct that subjects another person, whether physically, mentally, emotionally or psychologically, to anything that may endanger, abuse, degrades or intimidates the person as a condition of association with a group or organization, regardless of the person’s consent or lack of consent.”
Each hazing incident is viewed on a case-by-case basis, as is any violation of the Student Handbook. Currently, no changes to the Student Handbook seem necessary. Any future changes will be recommended to Dean of Students Mark Smith.
Hunt is optimistic towards the reaction and cooperation of the student organizations.
“Whereas other institutions in the country are struggling to react to a campus culture of hazing,” Hunt, “Rensselaer is taking a proactive approach to ensure that our campus and our students do not have to experience the negative consequences.”