A recent incident on the Texas Tech campus, thought to be a fraternity-related prank, has again brought up a topic familiar to many of the nation's college campuses.
According to a Tech police daily report, between midnight and 6 a.m. Monday morning, a forceful kidnapping incident was reported to the Tech Police Department. Upon investigation, the report stated the incident was revealed to be a fraternity prank.
Both the abductors and abductee were located shortly after calls were made to the police department, regarding a student who was seen bound in duct tape and appeared to be getting abducted from the Z-4M parking lot.
Maj. Gordon Hoffman of the Tech Police Department said a police report has been filed but has not yet been released. He said the investigation is ongoing.
Jennifer Hammat, managing director of the Student Judicial Program, said Residence Life staff have been looking into the incident to see if they can gather more information before the report is released.
The challenge with the alleged hazing is that there were a lot of witnesses who thought they were seeing a (forceful kidnapping), she said. The police were contacted, and the university responded in a timely fashion.
Hammat believes hazing is a cultural issue seen differently by men and women.
For guys, they do brotherhood activities, she said. With women it is really different. Men look for meaningful ways to connect, and many times the way (men) earn respect among each other is through endurance.
Coordinator for student organizations and fraternities Steve Hirst said the idea hazing forms bonds is a myth.
(The idea that hazing) is a bond is false, he said. There are plenty of other activities that can achieve the same bonding, if not more.
Hirst said the university's hazing policy is strict andc learly defines hazing.
There is no need for a Greek-specific hazing policy, he said. The university and state laws entail all the major (definitions).
The hazing policy is defined in the Texas Education Code, sections 37.151 through 37.157 and section 51.936. The policy states hazing is any intentional, knowing or reckless act directed against a student occurring on or off the campus by a person or persons that may endanger the mental or physical health or safety of a student for the purpose of pledging, associating, being initiated into, holding office in or seeking membership into any organization whose members include students.
The definition more narrowly defines hazing as physical brutality, physical activity, activities involving consumption or intimidating or threatening actions that are either condoned, encouraged or aided by an organization with student members.
Hirst said he believes there is more hazing occurs on the Tech campus than the staff would like, but the ideal amount of hazing is none. Hazing is a consistently discussed issue among Inter-Fraternity Council fraternity chapters.
We are constantly addressing the issue of hazing, he said. We still need to constantly educate all (fraternity) members of the anti-hazing policies.
Mike Gunn, assistant director for Campus Life and student and Greek organizations, said hazing is not only a problem with fraternities, but also with sororities and other non-Greek organizations.
We don't have a huge problem with hazing at Tech, he said. But students need to get away from the cultural norm of thinking to be a part of an organization, there needs to be some type of struggle. Meeting the general requirements is struggle enough.
Gunn said students need to understand not only does the university have a hazing policy, but the state and the national levels of the organization also have policies. He said Tech strongly enforces the university's hazing policy, as does the state, and punishment will be given for all hazing practices.
It all starts someplace, he said. Once we allow some things to slide, people try to push the limits.
Preston Files, a senior public relations major from Plano and the public relations and community service chair for the IFC, said he believes students in fraternities are well informed of the effects of hazing.
(Tech fraternities) are governed very well; they understand the implications and repercussions of hazing, he said. The IFC and the university make it a point to address the no-tolerance issue. They take it seriously and the frats do too.
Hammat said the issue of hazing can only begin to be overcome by educating everyone of the consequences of the illegal practices.
We have to continue to educate people and the alumni; we have to be diligent, she said. I am really impressed with the guys on the Inter- Fraternity Council, they are prepared to make some unpopular decisions to initiate change.