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Following its annual anti-hazing poster campaign, the Office of Student Life plans to organize a student working group to further investigate the issue of hazing on campus.
Associate Dean of Student Life David R. Friedrich said the development of the group is currently in early stages, and the OSL will soon reach out to students and other stakeholders with an opportunity to contribute to the group. Friedrich added that the group will discuss strategies to promote positive and inclusive induction processes, raise awareness, and approach the issue in a way that reflects the values of the Harvard community.
“The most effective approach to campus issues is when students take leadership and help us work to address them,” Friedrich said. “We’re looking forward to partnering with students to continue to develop new ways of addressing the issue and raising awareness.”
Friedrich added that the working group will collaborate with the University Department of Health Promotion and Education, which is comprised of several offices, including the Office of Alcohol and Other Drug Services.
The proposed working group is the latest in a series of initiatives undertaken by the OSL to combat hazing at Harvard. Friedrich noted that the OSL created a website dedicated to hazing information and resources for the student body several years ago, and the site was recently incorporated into the OSL’s website.
Additionally, leaders of all recognized and unrecognized student organizations—such as club sports teams, Greek organizations, and final clubs—are required to sign a non-hazing attestation form at the beginning of each year.
Brett M. Biebelberg ’16, an Undergraduate Council representative for Quincy House who serves on the Campus Safety Committee, said that he has not worked on hazing issues during his time on the Committee.
“I don’t know if that’s because in large part it’s not an issue, or if it’s because it’s something students are experiencing but they’re just not speaking up about,” he said, adding that he is interested to see what the group finds out.
Massachusetts law defines hazing as “any conduct or method of initiation into any student organization, whether on public or private property, which willfully or recklessly endangers the physical or mental health of any student or other person.”
Exposés, such as former Dartmouth fraternity member Andrew Lohse’s memoir released in August, have brought campus hazing into the national spotlight in recent years. Friedrich said that “the dangers of hazing require constant attention.”
Biebelberg added that the inclusion of students in working groups dealing with issues of student safety is imperative.
“Without student input, there’s no demonstration of commitment to improving student life,” he said.
—Staff writer Nikki D. Erlick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @nikkierlick.
—Staff writer Brianna D. MacGregor can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @bdmacgregor.
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