BGSU students send letters to hometown schools calling for hazing prevention education
Letters provide information to K-12 leaders on how to identify and discuss hazing with students
Hazing is dangerous, and it can happen anywhere.
That's the message Bowling Green State University students are sending to administrators at their hometown schools in hopes of starting conversations around hazing prevention early.
Through a letter-writing campaign, BGSU students are providing information to K-12 leaders on how to identify and discuss hazing with their students. The letters also include invitations to the first-ever Ohio Anti-Hazing Summit that BGSU will host in August.
"When it comes to hazing, especially in high school, there can be a real lack of knowledge about what it is and what it looks like," said Fide Valverde-Rivera, a junior and Delta Gamma sorority member. "I want to do what I can to inform and empower other students so they can have fulfilling experiences in whatever activity they choose."
As it turns out, hazing is not just a college problem. A study by Hoover and Pollard shows 48% of high school students say they have witnessed or experienced hazing in their school clubs, teams and organizations. Valverde-Rivera, who serves as president of the BGSU College Panhellenic Conference, wants to change that statistic through early education.
"My hope is that when students graduate from high school they are informed about what hazing is, why it's problematic and what they can do stop it," Valverde-Rivera said. "No one deserves to be put in unhealthy and compromising situations that threaten their safety or their life."
Led by BGSU students, the letter-writing campaign is part of the University's commitment to eradicate hazing of all forms after the tragic death of student Stone Foltz following a hazing incident in 2021. Similar tragedies have occurred at institutions in Ohio and across the nation almost every year since 1959.
Hazing prevention and education is prioritized within the BGSU Community of Care action plan. Paired with recently adopted Collin's Law and The Inter-University Council of Ohio Council of Presidents Anti-Hazing Principles, which were led and strongly supported by BGSU President Rodney K. Rogers, the University is committed to its Community of Care to educate and reinforce zero tolerance for hazing of any form on its campuses.
"Hazing has plagued college campuses and K-12 schools nationwide for years, and it must be stopped," BGSU Chief Health and Wellness Officer Ben Batey said. "Recognizing that we are stronger when we partner together, BGSU is committed to working with school administrators on starting the conversation around hazing early."
As the campus community prepares to remember Foltz with a candlelight memorial nearly one year after his death on March 1, Valverde-Rivera hopes K-12 leaders use the letters as a catalyst for conversation around the devastating consequences that hazing brings.
"Ending hazing starts with education, and everyone must work together to stop hazing," Valverde-Rivera said.
Updated: 03/02/2022 09:38AM