INDIANAPOLIS — Dani Weatherford, chief executive officer of the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC), and Carole J. Jones, NPC chairman, issued the following statements today urging lawmakers to urgently pursue anti-hazing legislation at the state and federal level following the death of Adam Oakes at Virginia Commonwealth University just over a week ago and two additional student deaths within the last few days. At least two of these deaths appear to be hazing related.
Statement from Dani Weatherford, NPC CEO
“It should not take more deaths to spur action from lawmakers, but the reality is that three student deaths in just over a week – two of which are formally being investigated as hazing – shine a devastating spotlight on much-needed anti-hazing legislation that has yet to be taken up and passed.
“We must ensure far greater accountability for perpetrators and require institutions to be far more transparent about when hazing occurs and how it is investigated. We urge federal lawmakers to immediately take up the END ALL Hazing Act and the REACH Act. And we urge Ohio lawmakers to end their stalemate on Collin’s Law. These are urgent pieces of legislation that simply cannot wait.”
Statement from Carole J. Jones, NPC chairman
“This pointless loss of young lives must end. We know that legislation alone will not end hazing, but it is a critical step and a clear articulation of the values we set for how students are treated.
“As we push for legislative action, we will also continue to work alongside parents who have lost their children to hazing and other partners in the Anti-Hazing Coalition to remember these young men and do all that we can to prevent hazing of all types in the future.”
NPC has joined with parent advocates and the North American Interfraternity Conference to advocate repeatedly in recent years for state and federal legislation that would provide considerably greater accountability for those who commit acts of hazing, while significantly expanding transparency and reporting regarding hazing incidents.
The END ALL Hazing Act would require colleges and universities to post on their websites information about student organizations that have been disciplined for hazing or other misconduct that threatened the well-being of students. Providing this information would improve transparency and assist students in making the best choices for their futures. The REACH Act would require colleges and universities to disclose information about hazing on campus in their annual crime reports. It would also require any college or university that accepts federal funding to provide hazing prevention education to all students.
In Ohio, Collin’s Law: The Ohio Anti-Bullying and Hazing Act, would strengthen penalties for acts of bullying and hazing, making it one of the most comprehensive laws of its kind in the country.