Last updateWed, 19 Feb 2020 2pm

Club & Greek

Hazing Speaker Visits MU

default article imageTravis Apgar, an anti-hazing speaker from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, gave a speech last Thursday night, Sept. 20, to an audience of Greek members. His presentation highlighted the various forms and subsequent risks of hazing practices seen in colleges nationwide.

As a consequence of the Greek Life suspension enacted on Sept. 6 by the University, every Greek letter organization was mandated to send 50 percent of its members to this event.  Numerous fraternities and sororities did not meet the required percentage, according to the Office of Student Activities.

Many audience members were not engaged; many were focused on their cell phones, others were doing homework, and some were asleep in their seats.

Apgar, a former Dean of Students at Cornell University, has toured the nation for over 15 years giving hundreds of college campuses with the same warning: Hazing is immensely dangerous. 

“We get mixed messages from media, sports teams, movies about expecting to be hazed when joining Greek Life,” said Apgar. “Hazing doesn’t only happen in Greek systems, but in honor societies, high school and college sports, marching bands, and more.  However, the most student deaths are from fraternity hazing incidents.”

Apgar himself had joined a fraternity in college, and was a victim of hazing.  He told the story of how his father had shot himself following a divorce notice, and on his initiation night, he was forced to hold a gun to his head and say he would die for the fraternity and how that broke him.

“We can measure how hazing affects someone physically,” said Apgar.  “We can look at bruises, muscle definition, and sleep deprivation as physical signs of hazing.  But, you can’t measure how something will affect somebody emotionally.”

A study by the University of Maine surveyed 11,000 students involved in Greek organizations.  55 percent experienced hazing, either physical or emotional.

Apgar continued, “There is not much I can do.  I have limited impact here.  You are the only ones who can stop it.  When hazing happens, it’s not the president’s decision, the Vice President’s, or the administrations.  Reality is, it’s in your hands.”

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