Greek Row holds anti-hazing seminar

By By Michael McFall , News Editor

By Michael McFall , News Editor

Greek Row hosted an anti-hazing seminar to address hazing as a harsh reality that members need to speak up against8212;but the same seminar forbade any of their stories to be made public, bringing to light a U society’s inherent conflict.

Members from various U fraternities and sororities gathered in the Sigma Nu fraternity house Wednesday night to discuss hazing with Diego Silva, a consultant from the national Sigma Nu fraternity.

During the seminar, greeks watched a video in which fraternity and sorority members from across the nation discussed instances when they stood by and said nothing about hazing they participated in or knew about8212;or when they did, they were told to keep quiet about it and not tell the outside world. The greeks then discussed episodes when they knew hazing was going on in the past or outside the U, but none of their stories were reported to the outside world.

It does seem like a contradiction to an outsider, said Erin Holtgreve, a junior in mass communication and a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority. On one hand, greeks acknowledged that hazing is a bitter reality that can’t be swept under a rug. They cited Michael Stark, the Utah State University fraternity member who died from alcohol poisoning in an episode of hazing last summer. But at the same time, they’re all citizens of a society with a tradition of secrecy and a fear of retaliation and embarrassment from all sides: fellow greeks, the national headquarters and a prejudiced public.

“It’s hard to understand the greek system if you’re not in it,” Holtgreve said. The greeks aren’t necessarily trying to keep their knowledge a secret; they want to deal with the problem within their own society without needing someone else to step in and do it for them, she said.

The seminar, besides encouraging the U’s greeks to stand up against hazing, was meant to show the rest of the world that they are trying to move away from their stigmas and deal with their problems in-house, said Tim Domian, the U’s Sigma Nu president. To further
demonstrate, Greek Row is bringing Stark’s brother and father to the U to talk to students about the reality and dangers of hazing.

What happened to Stark built animosity toward all greeks, not just the Sigma Nu fraternity and Chi Omega sorority houses at USU that were held responsible, Domian said. When outsiders think of greeks, they usually think about hazing and alcohol, which isn’t a fair representation, he said. The system is focused on educating young people about service and leadership, he said.

But Silva, who has held three similar seminars before, said he isn’t sure how long reform
within Greek Row will take. There haven’t been many changes in the days or weeks after the seminars, he said.

“It’s a generational thing,” he said. “Hopefully the next generation will be better, and the next one will be better.”

Holtgreve said she’s seen bullies picking on younger kids as she walks around Salt Lake City, and from now on, she won’t just keep walking and assume everything will be all right.

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