CEO Explains the Uncomfortable Truth Following Hazing Death

May 25, 2017 – After the horrific hazing death of a Penn State student, President and CEO of the North-American Interfraternity Conference, Judson Horras, weighs in.

Early this year, Penn State student Timothy Piazza passed away as a result of a cruel hazing ritual followed by hours of abuse and neglect, leaving many heartbroken and wondering, "How do we stop this?" According to Horras, the uncomfortable truth is the inherent limitation of fraternity and university organizations that attempt to influence student behavior from a position of external power. That while strong expectations, anti-hazing policy and educational programming are some of the best prevention practices, these efforts are useless if students are not committed to doing the right thing in the moment.

Horras suggests parents, university and fraternity officials ask themselves difficult questions to better address the situation. For example, "How do students embrace meaningful and safe rites of passage instead of dangerous 'traditions,' which many seek no matter how many times we warn against them?" Or, "How do we work with students when their daily interactions are on technology platforms designed to disrupt traditional forms of authority and accountability?

He says, "Such a deep reflection isn't inaction - it's an important step that lays the foundation for transformational change. Fraternal leaders have been asking questions like these as we work together to address critical issues facing fraternity men."

The North-American Interfraternity conference Vision for Fraternity Communities has taken many questions into consideration to provide a framework to prepare communities for change, and the organization will be working with more than 20 campuses next year to implement the reforms, including Penn State.

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