“No one wants to hear on a phone call that your son collapsed and died.” Those are the words of Pam Champion, the mother of twenty six year old FAMU band member Robert Champion whose death is suspected to be the result of hazing. The distraught father of Robert Champion stated that his only son meant the world to him. He commented on how difficult it is to accept that his son who was doing the right things in life to better himself and his community was taken in such a way. My heart goes out to this family.
This is yet another tragic story of another senseless murder involving hazing. According to a recent University of Connecticut study, since 1970, there has been at least one hazing related death on a college campus each year. Incidents involving sexual intimidation or nudity have been increasing since 1995. Eighty two percent of deaths from hazing involve alcohol.  

Despite being classified as a misdemeanor in 44 states, hazing is a long-standing tradition among fraternities, sororities, sporting teams, marching bands and other social clubs in the name of brotherhood or sisterhood.  According to clinical psychologist Dr. Jeff Gardere, hazing is “a way to put discipline out there for someone who wants to become part of a bigger group. It's a way to establish hierarchy. And it is a way to become part of that group and then later on that person who has been hazed feels I will do unto others what has been done unto me.”

Not all social groups engage in harmful hazing but what if hazing in the form of aggressive adolescent behavior and physical and sexual abuse were replaced with an initiation mandate of becoming an academic superstar or leading an outstanding campaign of public service or exemplary social responsibility? Would that not accomplish the desired goal for tribal alliance and fellowship while instilling leadership qualities?  

It’s not unreasonable to make a connection between the culture of hazing as a breeding ground that transcends the school yard and picks up in the workplace in the form of the workplace bully.

I encourage you to participate in the research study by completing the brief questionnaire designed to identify if there is a possible connection between bullying and social club affiliation that involves hazing.  In addition, please consider sharing your thoughts and prayers for hazing victims in the comment section below. If you are interested in learning more about examples of hazing, click here to head over to the Water Cooler section. You can also click here to watch a short video clip on the dangers of hazing in the video page.