CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) – Virginia State University announced plans to fight hazing. The announcement comes weeks after two VSU students drowned in the Appomattox River while being hazed by a non-university sanctioned group, police said.
VSU President Dr. Keith Miller said the university hopes to change attitudes about hazing.
“While being associated with a group with members of like-minded beliefs and interests is one of the more meaningful aspects of life, hazing is a hidden and serious challenge,” he said in a statement. “Hazing undermines the values of the group, the university and our society. Therefore, it is important to continually examine the practices of organizations. It is not enough to certify organizations and then proceed with a laissez faire attitude toward evaluation and practices. Today’s organizational behavior must be frequently and thoroughly monitored.”
While Miller said VSU has a “zero-tolerance policy toward hazing,” he added more needed to be done. He said the school will establish a Task Force on Hazing. As part of the task force, VSU students, faculty and staff will find new opportunities to educate the campus.
President Miller said he planned to host an anti-hazing conference on campus.
“The discussions are only beginning,” he said. “We anticipate many additional initiatives. Preliminary plans are being made for ongoing student campaigns against hazing. We are opting for a hazing free community, which will require a coordinated effort throughout campus. We will be relentless with our anti-hazing activities. We will help organizations design educational activities that focus on the purpose, values and function of the organization. There are myriad alternatives and each will be explored.”