View of the VCU sign in the area of the university's student commons area.

VCU joins Hazing Prevention Consortium in three-year program to improve campus culture

The latest cohort of nine colleges will embrace and test data-driven approaches to safety.

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Virginia Commonwealth University will join the sixth cohort of colleges and universities in the Hazing Prevention Consortium led by StopHazing, a research-to-practice initiative designed to build an evidence base for improving campus environments. Member schools have demonstrated a commitment to eliminate hazing and a readiness to launch a comprehensive, campuswide approach to prevention.

"I am thrilled VCU is a member of StopHazing's Hazing Prevention Consortium,” said Aaron Hart, Ed.D., VCU’s vice president for student affairs. “We are joined by eight other institutions doing the hard work of addressing hazing on college campuses. VCU is dedicated to creating a safer campus for our students, and our participation in this consortium shows we are always dedicated to addressing this issue."

StopHazing’s research team, led by University of Maine higher education professor Elizabeth Allan, coordinates and supports universities participating in the HPC. The three-year initiative is guided by the Hazing Prevention Framework, a data-driven approach. Member institutions receive consulting and technical assistance from research and prevention experts to assess the campus climate for hazing, and to build institutional and leadership commitment to prevent hazing.

The HPC includes significant data collection and assessments to inform a tailored and comprehensive approach for prevention. Members will develop, implement and evaluate hazing prevention strategies and share lessons learned with other colleges and universities in the consortium. Additionally, they will evaluate prevention strategies to test efficacy and contribute to the knowledge base for hazing prevention.

VCU Hazing Prevention Coordinator Rachael Tully became interested in the consortium after she attended StopHazing’s Hazing Prevention Academy this year. “I saw the benefits of participating in HPC after attending a conference session where former and current HPC members presented their findings and the improvements they implemented to prevent hazing on their campuses due to membership in the program,” she said.

Over the spring and summer, Tully worked with the VCU Hazing Prevention Coalition, consisting of representatives from various departments, to share her insights. The coalition embraced HPC’s data-driven approach and the focus and dialogue and ongoing development, and it decided to work with Hart to join the consortium.

Students, faculty and staff who are interested in joining the VCU Hazing Prevention Coalition can complete its interest form. Members share their perspective on VCU practices around hazing prevention and assist in creating methods for addressing hazing in line with the HPC. Current members include representatives from Fraternity and Sorority Life, Dean of Students Office, Student Conduct and Academic Integrity Office, Office of Student Leadership and Engaged Learning, RecWell, Residential Life and Housing, and University Athletics.

Tully said the VCU team working with the HPC is excited about potential progress over the next three years. “My hope is that VCU creates a sustainable hazing prevention program that establishes a culture of anti-hazing and that can be enhanced and revised as new trends emerge in future years,” she said.

Tully noted that the VCU Hazing Prevention Coalition is not alone in its efforts on campus. VCU continues to provide trainings for Adam’s Law and partners with the Love Like Adam Foundation for other hazing prevention efforts.

Joining VCU in the sixth cohort of the HPC are Arizona State University, Harvard College, Indiana University, New Mexico State University, Princeton University, Rhodes College, Southern Methodist University and University of Mississippi.