A study by a University of Iowa researcher finds that college student’s views on hazing are a little hazy. Shelly Campo — an assistant professor of community and behavioral health at the U-of-I — surveyed students at Cornell College in New York. She says they asked students if they believed they’d been hazed or had hazed someone else. Campo says the students were then given a long list of things there were either positive team-building exercises or hazing, and were asked to mark the ones they’d been involved in. Campo says they found a mismatch between the number of students who recognized they’d been a “hazer” or “hazee” based on state law and the university definition. She says while students recognized that being kidnapped or beating might constitute hazing, they were less likely to think something like being required to drink constituted hazing. Campo says among students there’s a belief that it will build better “group cohesion” if they participate in the hazing. Campo says, “We have this issue that it (hazing) is part of the college experience, it’s a right of passage. People feel they’ve survived it and its made the stronger.” She says that belief is barrier to getting support to stop hazing on college campuses. Campo says while her study covers only one college — it is backed up by two other studies with similar results. She says those studies suggest that hazing was a relatively prevalent experience. She says the number of students participating in hazing probably varies from campus to campus, but she says the number who participate is probably bigger than previously thought. Campo says there are numerous team-building activities — like recreational sports, ropes courses or community service –that can strengthen the relationships among students without the need for hazing. Campo says the was to stop hazing is to educate all students about all forms of hazing and other negative team-building activities.
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