Silence falls over the Cavalla Room for the third time Sunday. Earlier, it was packed with brothers and sisters in Greek life. The lights dim and the film begins, echoing words that Rider’s community has plenty of opportunities to reflect on: We don’t haze.
Though many claim hazing is a reflection of tradition and a community-building method, the film We Don’t Haze! attacks that notion head-on. With recent incidents surrounding the cross-country team, as well as our painful past involving Gary DeVercelly, that normalization of hazing simply does not belong here at Rider. If anything was to be taken from all of this, it’s that we need to discover other forms of building bonds and creating community.
At the end of each screening, students were asked to write some ideas of how to promote friendliness and teamwork without hazing. The responses varied, some containing suggestions such as “thank my sisters for the little things they do,” “watch movies once a month,” have more “family dinners” or just cheering on teammates more at practice. Others contained advice offered with comfort in mind, like “listen to those who may be struggling” and “be the teammate that everyone can come to, no matter what.”
These thoughts are ones that should be put into action. Not a single club, team, fraternity or sorority should be making anyone feel uncomfortable or should hurt them, all in the name of creating lasting bonds. It’s time to break the cold, pain-filled traditions and create new ones of compassion and kindness. Build teams and families by getting to know them, not by how far they can be pushed.
In terms of hazing, one student perfectly described what we all can do to combat it.
“Learn to speak up,” they wrote. “And speak now, fearlessly.”
The weekly editorial expresses the majority opinion of The Rider News. This week’s editorial was written by the Opinion Editor, Samantha Sawh.
Printed in the 10/21/15 issue.