The recent suspension of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity chapter at University of South Florida has spurred one student to take action with an awareness rally at the university Thursday afternoon. Nicole Garcia, 22, coordinated and organized the event in which approximately 20 students came in support of the cause. Garcia is also a member of the Delta Tau Lambda Sorority.
Garcia said that she felt that if Greek students didnt address this incident, it would reflect poorly on Greek life as a whole.
I wanted to have a unified voice because of all of the news media and all the articles, USF is being looked at that there is a lot of hazing here and its really not, she said.
There hasnt been a lot of information given about the recent suspension of the fraternity at USF and administrators are keeping quiet pending the outcome of the investigation. It is a third-degree felony to engage in any form of hazing.
A study conducted by University of Maine in 2007 found that more than half (55 percent) of students report that they experienced a specific behavior that was defined as hazing. However, 91 percent of these students do not identify as having been hazed.
Patrick Romero-Aldaz, Director of Greek Life at USF was also at the rally to speak to the students.
Sororities and fraternities do not condone hazing and the university community itself doesnt condone hazing, and we need to come together to address the creation of an anti-hazing culture.
Romero-Aldaz also said that hazing is not something that is confined to schools and the military but is a society issue that needs to be addressed.
I think hazing is prevalent in society. The 'celebritizing' of hazing doesnt help us in addressing that situation and helping to curtail it. He added, I think socially, we need to address hazing as a whole and how we address bullying behaviors or treating people inappropriately because it is a larger societal picture."