The fraternity and sorority community is a highly active participant in policy conversations to eradicate hazing at both the federal and state level. We want to ensure that all college students are able to learn and thrive in a safe and healthy campus environment. Hazing and bullying is a major health and safety threat.
Fraternities and sororities are the leading source of anti-hazing educational programming on college campuses nationwide, but there are still instances where our members violate our values by hazing other students. Additional partnerships are needed to further stop hazing in all its forms.
One such partnership is the Anti-Hazing Coalition formed by the National Panhellenic Conference, the North-American Interfraternity Conference, and a group of parents who lost their children through hazing-related activities on college campuses. It is incredible to see the spirit of these parents who,
despite their loss and grief, are pulling together with fraternities and sororities to prevent any other parent from having to endure such a tragedy. The Anti-Hazing Coalition promotes aggressive student educational outreach, strengthening criminal and civil penalties for hazing at the state level, and federal advocacy to heighten transparency and accountability to make lasting cultural change in student organizations and on college campuses.
And speaking of federal advocacy, there are two pieces of legislation we are supporting. First is the Report and Educate About Campus Hazing (REACH) Act, which was introduced in the House this year by Reps. Marcia Fudge (D-OH/Delta Sigma Theta), and Dave Joyce (R-OH) as H.R 662, and, as of this writing, has amassed over 60 co-sponsors. The REACH Act has also been introduced in the Senate as S. 706 and has Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Bob Casey (D-PA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) as co-sponsors.
The REACH Act increases transparency about hazing. It would require universities to include incidents of hazing in their Clery Act reporting. The Clery Act mandates that universities distribute a public annual security report that provides campus crime statistics and details the efforts the university is taking to improve campus safety. At present, hazing incidents are not part of Clery Act reporting, however, universities already do collect such information. The REACH Act simply requires it be made public, and by doing so, the true magnitude of hazing problems on campuses would be known and progress to reduce hazing occurrences could be tracked.
Both transparency and accountability would be improved by the second piece of legislation—the Educational Notification and Disclosure of Actions risking Loss of Life (END ALL) by Hazing Act. This bill will be introduced shortly in the House by Reps. Marcia Fudge (D-OH/Delta Sigma Theta) and Glenn Thompson (R-PA). Lead sponsors in the Senate are currently being sought.
The END ALL Hazing Act would require universities to have a web page, updated twice a year, that contains information about student organizations that have been disciplined for hazing or other misconduct that threatened the well-being of students. The information would remain on the web site for a period of five years.
Students and parents would be able to use the web site to make decisions about a school to attend or an organization to join. Hence, no university would want the site to be too populated, and no fraternity or sorority would want its name on it.
States such as South Carolina and Pennsylvania have already adopted similar legislation, and a dozen other states are considering it. However, it would be much more expedient to pass a federal law that would cover all universities in all states.
We will keep you apprised of the status of the efforts on hazing and other legislation pertinent to the inter-fraternal community in this space. Watch for it!