Anti-hazing policy may change pledgeship

Interfraternity Council works to spread awareness of the changes

Callie Ramsey

Winter term at Washington and Lee means new pledges, but thanks to a new Virginia anti-hazing law, pledgeship may look different this year.

Titled “Model Policy Regarding the Prevention of and Appropriate Disciplinary Action for Hazing at Virginia’s Institutions of Higher Education,”  the new standard was finalized Dec. 19, 2014.

The policy requires that if any faculty member witnesses or hears of hazing he or she is obligated to report it to law enforcement.The standard also includes a clause stating that voluntary participation in hazing will not be distinguished from involuntary participation.

Incoming Interfraternity Council president Moody Heard ‘16 said that they are still raising awareness of the policy change.
IFC has hosted a session with the fraternity presidents and leadership teams and a meeting with first year men. They will soon be going around to each chapter with chapter alumnae to make the message more personal.

According to Heard, the IFC is working with Adviser Dean John Jensen and other deans to incorporate the new standards into its constitution and to build the best hazing report process.

“The channels of communication are still being developed,” Heard said. “It is hard to determine the implications at this point but we hope to deter underground hazing.”

Hazing reports in the past were dealt with on a case-by-case basis. Investigators looked at a number of factors including malicious intent, and physical or psychological damage. Now the fraternities will be accountable to the stated policies in Virginia’s new model.

The IFC has already held a hearing in regards to a hazing report.

There are mixed feeling among fraternities about the new standard.

“There are lots of things that can be misconstrued as hazing that were actually used to build brotherhood  among my pledge class,” said Todd Alan McDonald ‘17. “Whether it’s right or wrong, I’m not there to judge.”

Heard also said he would not be surprised by an increase in hazing reports. His message to the fraternities has been “play a prevention game, not a clean up game.”

The IFC plans to continue working with its advisers and the deans to incorporate the standard into its constitution.