Recent USF frat hazing prompts students to rally

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Romero-Aldaz’s belief about hazing being more of a societal problem is supported by Dr. Michelle Finkel in “Traumatic Injuries Caused by Hazing Practices." According to Dr. Finkel, “Hazing is similar to domestic violence victims. These patients may disguise the cause of their injuries out of embarrassment or the desire to protect the perpetrator (s).”


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Guerdy St. Victor, 20 and a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, came to the rally for the same reasons as others in attendance. He doesn’t condone the use of hazing in fraternities or sororities as a means to prove loyalty to potential brothers and sisters.


“It’s illegal. It puts a person at risk. Some people have gotten seriously hurt by hazing,” St. Victor said.


A familiar face in the political world was also in attendance at the rally, former State Senator and the Democrat nominee for the district three Hillsborough County Commission seat, Les Miller. Miller said that he came not only to support his fellow Greek brothers, but to support students fighting to change the attitudes about hazing in Greek life.


“I think it’s a smart move on their part. Because we had an incident recently and they want to come together to show that the incident is not what the student Greek organizations on this campus are about. It’s about service; it’s not about hazing.”


Chris Randall, a USF student not in a fraternity, said he came to the rally because of what he has heard on the news about Omega Psi Phi. Randall also said that he had come to support his friend Garcia and believes that hazing should have no part in fraternities and sororities.

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 didn’t 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 it’s really not,” she said.

There hasn’t 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 doesn’t 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 doesn’t 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."

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