The following can be attributed to Dr. Joseph Savoie, University of Louisiana at Lafayette president.
In response to Gov. John Bel Edwards’ request to state university systems to evaluate hazing and alcohol policies, the University of Louisiana System has developed recommendations to expand existing prevention efforts.
Those recommendations have been sent to Edwards as part of a dialogue among state officials and the UL, LSU and Southern University systems. The intent is to further combat hazing and high-risk drinking at state universities following the death of an LSU student on Sept. 14. Edwards made his request on Sept. 21.
Dr. Jim Henderson, president and CEO of the UL System, and the presidents of its nine universities, proposed developing a systemwide initiative to promote changing campus cultures where hazing can occur, and promote shared accountability among campus and student leaders.
These recommendations are based on evaluations of hazing, alcohol and illegal substance policies and programs at system schools.
Henderson said he’s confident that institutions will further their efforts to eliminate hazing cultures.
UL Lafayette’s existing policies and procedures related to student organizations – including fraternities and sororities – are designed to ensure students have a safe, rewarding experience on campus, said Pat Cottonham, the University’s vice president for Student Affairs.
“We provide opportunities for students to learn and understand our policies, and we try to keep lines of communication open so we can address reports of violations of the hazing policy. In turn, we rely on our student organizations and leaders to follow policies and procedures. Education is the best tool that we can offer to help them,” she explained.
Education plans for new members of Greek organizations must be approved by the Office of Student Engagement and Leadership for prospective fraternity or sorority members. New members must sign a contract that states they will not participate in hazing. New members, chapter presidents and student leaders must also attend an anti-hazing presentation given by a University staff member.
Office of Student Engagement and Leadership staff members and student leaders attend informational sessions about hazing that are hosted by national and regional organizations such as the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors, the Undergraduate Interfraternity Institute, and the Southeastern Panhellenic Conference.
Nationally-recognized hazing prevention and alcohol awareness speakers also help educate students.
All Greek chapters implement alcohol awareness and education programs.
The University also conducts hazing prevention awareness campaigns.
Greek leaders routinely meet with University officials. The dean of students and other staff members are also available for one-on-one meetings with members of all student organizations who have questions or want to voice concerns.
Procedures in place to address reports of hazing include protocols and timelines for chapter leaders to meet with University officials and provide information about reports of hazing.
UL Lafayette works closely with national Greek organizations to investigate reports of any suspected hazing.
Find more information about fraternities and sororities, resources for chapters and members, and University policies and rules at Greeklife.louisiana.edu.