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OHIO advances the Hazing Prevention Task Force this academic year

Published: September 16, 2021 Author: Isabella Pennese

Though National Hazing Prevention Week falls at the end of September, Ohio University has remained committed to ensuring hazing prevention tactics are instilled among all student organizations year-round.

Back in 2019, Ohio University’s Division of Student Affairs established a Hazing Prevention Task Force made up of University students, faculty, and staff members to address hazing at the University.

The task force’s initial motive was to implement a comprehensive training program to be used across all groups, clubs, and organizations at OHIO. The educational training program was developed by conducting a comprehensive needs assessment and problem analysis to better understand the issues within university hazing culture at the time.

The conclusion of the task force was set for after the spring semester of 2021. However, that is no longer the case; the team has been working diligently to derive this year’s course of action.

“The best way to change the culture on campus is to engage students in the solutions,” said Interim Vice President for Student Affairs Jenny Hall-Jones.

Right now, the task force is centering its attention on Senate Bill 126 and the Inter-University Council principles. Both guiding documentations have paved the way for the work that will be completed in the next year.

Based on its ideologies, the body of work to be done by the task force will focus on four major pillars to help with the elimination of hazing among all OHIO organizations this academic year.

  1. Hazing Prevention Education: The task force will deliver an educational experience that is mandatory for all students, faculty, staff, volunteers, and advisors of student organizations. This educational program has been in development since the initiation of the task force, but this year its implication is now a requirement of the Senate bill.
  2. Policy Revision: Back in March, the task force made a series of policy recommendations to the vice president for student affairs for the Hazing Policy 23.010. New proposals will be issued based on provisions in the law to expand and clarify the policy. 
  3. Engaging Campus Stakeholder: One of the most impactful changes in Senate Bill 126 is the requirement that all employees are mandated reporters for sexual misconduct. This notion has been a University-wide policy since 2017, but the task force’s new aim is to educate students of this expectation as it is now required by state law.
  4. Meeting with Education Partners: The task force has been collaborating with other University partners in the Inter-University Council to set the standards for hazing prevention and power-based violence education in the state of Ohio along with committee work to ensure the establishment of a strong policy for each of the Ohio schools. 

 “We are looking forward to compliance with the law and ensuring that our students and employees are educated about the dangers and warning signs of power-based violence,” said Taylor Tackett, OHIO’s assistant dean of students and director of Community Standards and Student Responsibility.

OHIO’s Division of Student Affairs encourages all Bobcats to recognize the physical and psychological harms of hazing, condemn the act on all levels, and advocate for its prevention.