Fraternity Groups Put Full Support Behind Anti-Hazing Legislation

The REACH Act, which would increase reporting requirements after hazing incidents in hopes of preventing tragedies on college campuses, has received the support of seven major umbrella organizations representing more than 140 fraternities and sororities nationwide.

Organizations representing fraternities and sororities are rallying behind a new piece of anti-hazing legislation that’s being brought to Congress with the help of a legislator who knows all about Greek life on campus.

Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH), who served as national president of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority between 1996 and 2000, is cosponsoring a bill with Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-PA) that would require universities to track reported hazing incidents in campus crime reports required under the Clery Act.

The idea of the Report and Educate About Campus Hazing (REACH) Act, Fudge noted last month, is to prevent serious harm to students who belong to Greek organizations.

“We cannot act only after an unfortunate incident occurs,” Fudge said in a news release. “We need a strategy that will address hazing at its core. Accurate college reporting will provide the data we need to develop legislative solutions for administrators and faculty and protect our nation’s college students.”

The bill would also set aside funding for anti-hazing education efforts at universities.

Broad Support

Umbrella groups representing fraternities and sororities—including the  National Panhellenic Conference (NPC), the North-American Interfraternity Conference, the National Pan-Hellenic Council, Inc., and four other groups—issued statements this week supporting the legislation. Collectively, they represent more than 140 Greek organizations.

“No single piece of legislation can eradicate hazing on campus, but it can ensure that students, administrators, and parents have access to the tools and information they need to hold organizations and campuses accountable,” said NPC Executive Director Dani Weatherford. “The battle against hazing is not a problem for fraternities alone, but a call to action for all campus-based organizations—including the sorority community. We stand with elected leaders, campus officials, and students nationwide as committed partners in this fight.”

“Hazing on college campuses is a complex problem, and addressing it requires a multifaceted approach,” said Lynda Wiley, executive director of the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors. “A combination of information, education, and accountability is necessary to eliminate this behavior. Including hazing information in Clery reporting will help students and parents as they ask important questions related to joining a variety of organizations, including fraternities and sororities.”

Tragedy at Penn State

The bill comes in the wake of several deadly incidents at schools around the country.

In one high-profile case, Penn State University student Timothy Piazza died after what has been described as an “alcohol-fueled” pledging incident. Piazza was severely injured when he fell down several flights of stairs. Eighteen members of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity were charged with a variety of crimes related to the incident. Eight face involuntary manslaughter charges.

Penn State officials are also supporting the REACH Act.

Reps. Marcia Fudge (right) and Patrick Meehan (second from right) introducing the REACH Act last month. (Handout photo)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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