Student Government addresses hazing

By Becca Clemons

A Student Government meeting Wednesday night discussed a new hazing policy being implemented at the University of Kentucky.

The current hazing policy is too loosely defined, Senate President Micah Fielden said. The new policy will encompass all UK individuals, groups, teams and organizations.

The UK Anti-Hazing Coalition, comprised of people from all over the university, worked to draft this policy, Dave Lowe, executive vice president of the Intrafraternity Council and member of the Anti-Hazing Coalition, said. The legislation will be admitted to and reviewed by all of UK’s administrative bodies, including the Faculty Senate and Board of Trustees.

The new hazing policy includes definitions of hazing, examples of hazing behaviors and the rights of those who reports hazing activities, extending to all people in the UK community.

The Kentucky state legislature requires a hazing policy on campus, and UK’s administration considered the old hazing regulations to be too narrowly defined, Fielden said. The new policy applies not only to UK students, but to faculty, staff, students, volunteers, patients, customers, alumni and visitors as well.

The meeting’s purpose was to make sure the student body is best represented by the policy that is passed, Lowe said. He said the coalition aimed to make the document as student-friendly and as easy to understand as possible.

The hazing policy will provide students with a source that they can use, he said.

The old policy didn’t include rights of students and protections for students, Todd Cox, assistant director for SG and member of the Anti-Hazing Coalition, said. He said by looking at the new definition, one would know if he or she is being hazed or not, whereas with the old definition that may have been unclear.

Researchers at the University of Maine conducted a nationwide survey on college students and hazing, and some of the statistics influenced UK’s new hazing policy.

The survey reported that 55 percent of college students admitted they had been subject to hazing activities, yet only 10 percent said they felt they had been hazed.

The coalition’s next goals are to create a web presence, programming and good resources for students, Lowe said, with an ultimate objective of making hazing a more visible issue on campus.

“This policy could become a national model for other schools,” Cox said.

SG discussed the policy’s particulars at the meeting and hopes to submit a revised version to the full senate next week.