Denison Participates In First National Hazing Prevention Week
Posted: September 5, 2005
A former law professor and assistant prosecuting attorney will make the case against hazing when he speaks at Denison University. Dave Westol, chief executive director of Theta Chi Fraternity, will present "Hazing on Trial," a speech using the format of a mock trial, to drive home important points about hazing at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday (Sept. 13) in Swasey Chapel. Westol has given his speech more than 1,000 times on 300-plus campuses highlighting points about student liability and individual responsibility.
Westol has worked extensively in the areas of risk management and liability. He has lectured extensively on legal affairs relating to fraternity and sorority life. "Hazing is endemic in American schools from junior high through graduate and professional schools," says Westol. "It is also rampant in the military and a hidden cancer for oil riggers, firemen, and others in the workforce."
"Initiation rites have been an important part of different cultures throughout history," Westol continues. "Few of us go through life without taking part in some sort of rite of passage. I have no problem with the validity and value of certain initiation rituals. What I am referring to are rituals that exhibit cult-like characteristics -- monopolizing someone's time, robbing them of space, forcing them to accept an all-or-nothing group mentality. In short, I am opposed to rituals of a pathological nature -- hazing, as we've collectively come to call these wrongs of passage."
National Hazing Prevention Week grew out of the National Hazing Symposium held last November. The national program is sponsored by the NCAA, the Association for Student Judicial Affairs, Campuspeak, and the Association of Fraternity Advisors. On the Denison campus, Westol's appearance is being sponsored by the University's Alpha Eta Colony of Beta Theta Pi with other events planned and sponsored by Student Activities Office, Campus and Residential Life, Athletics and First-year Programs.
Denison University, founded in 1831, is an independent, residential liberal arts institution located in Granville, Ohio. A highly selective college enrolling 2,100 full-time undergraduate students from all 50 states and dozens of foreign countries, Denison is a place where innovative faculty and motivated students collaborate in rigorous scholarship, civic engagement and the cultivation of independent thinking.
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