Survey looks to gather information on students’ experiences with hazing

Marissa Mizroch, Reporter

The Division of Student Affairs sent out a survey Spring Quarter in an effort to gather information about students’ experiences with hazing as part of a larger push to improve campus life at Northwestern.

“We really wanted to learn more about student’s perceptions of hazing — if they’ve seen it, where they’ve seen it, if they’ve experienced it, how they’ve experienced it.” Dean of Students Todd Adams said. “There’s a lot of anecdotal data, but there’s very little hard data.”

The survey, which closed June 15, was sent to a random sampling of 2,000 undergraduate students and approximately 800 of those students participated.

Throughout the 2013-2014 academic year, a small working group including staff from the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution and Counseling and Psychological Services has been studying hazing culture at NU. The survey was sent out to allow for the working group to gather more information about how students perceive hazing.

“Hazing is done, and has been done, for so long there must be a reason for it,” said David Shor, associate director for clinical services at CAPS and a member of the working group that has been studying hazing. “If people feel like they’re getting something out of it, that needs to be respected so healthier alternatives can be discussed. I think the first step in dealing with an issue is to have a true understanding of what’s really going on.”

Tara Sullivan, assistant dean of students and director of student conduct and conflict resolution, is also a member of the working group and said the survey was sent out to better gage campus perspective on hazing.

“We’re just trying to get an idea of where our campus climate and culture is on the topic of hazing,” Sullivan said. “I think its difficult for staff, not being students, to really know what’s know what’s going on in the student community.”

Once the results from the survey are gathered, a larger hazing prevention group will be formed in the fall, Adams said. The group will involve more faculty in addition to students. Shor said he hopes the new focus on hazing will be one step toward changing the overall culture at NU.

“In general, when a campus feels like a zero-sum game, then everything is competitive,” Shor said. “I think we need to work on bringing about a culture that is more additive, and less competitive.”

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