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Marshall's Hazing Prevention Week ends

Feb. 03, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- Hazing Prevention Week at Marshall University ended Saturday with a message of continued awareness and education from Tracy Maxwell, founder and former executive director of HazingPrevention.org.

She told the hundreds of fraternity and sorority members at Saturday's event to continue focusing on preventive efforts by understanding what exactly hazing is. On her organization's website, hazing is defined as any action taken or situation created intentionally that causes embarrassment, harassment or ridicule, and risks emotional and or physical harm. It's also hazing regardless of a person's willingness to participate.

"Schools like Marshall are great to visit because they have a good understanding of hazing," Maxwell said. "It's great there aren't many reported incidents at Marshall, but that doesn't mean it's not happening."

The key, Maxwell said, is stopping the problem before it starts. And that's why Marshall's offices of Fraternity and Sorority Life and Student Activities organized Hazing Prevention Week, said Lee Tabor, Fraternity and Sorority Life adviser.

"The purpose of the week has been to educate students so they fully understand hazing and how to prevent it," Tabor said. "It's not really here to the extent of other universities. We're trying to be proactive."

This past week's activities included a new member presentation and a talk by Dave Westol, founder of Limberlost Consulting. His involvement with fraternity and sorority life includes serving as recruitment chairman and new member educator for his chapter and as vice president for Communications and president of the Michigan State University Interfraternity Council.

There also were sessions for chapter presidents, faculty and staff advisers, and other Greek community leaders.

That built up to Maxwell's presentation Saturday night, which Jackie Hackett, the president of Panhellenic Council, said was especially important for the sorority members. Hackett said one of the goals she wanted to see accomplished was that students knew hazing is both physical and emotional. And the emotional pain is what tends to happen in sororities, she said.

"There is a zero-tolerance policy at Marshall," Hackett said. "(New members) sign a waiver that says they won't do it, but they may not even know what it is."

Hackett also said that it is important for there to be some follow-up assessment done. She and Guy Mobley, president of the Interfraternity Council, plan to meet with chapter presidents to get feedback.

And, Hackett said there are plans for Marshall to participate in National Hazing Prevention Week in September.