Huskers Against Hazing is a program designed to teach students preparing to enter fraternities and sororities about hazing and the resources the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has to help prevent it.
This program is a requirement for any student seeking to join a Greek organization that is part of the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) or the Multicultural Greek Council (MGC).
Ashley Swift, the MGC/NPHC Graduate Assistant in the UNL Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, said the multicultural councils participate in this hazing prevention program because they can join a multicultural fraternity or sorority at any point during their college experience.
Students who are a part of the other two Greek councils under the entity of the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life on UNL’s campus, the Panhellenic Association (PHA) and the Interfraternity Council (IFC), receive a different form of this program at the beginning of each fall semester, according to Swift.
Huskers Against Hazing is taught by Swift, who has made sure the program is interactive for students. However, she said she always starts with a specific disclaimer.
“I first let people know that hazing is illegal,” Swift said.
Swift said she then goes into explaining what hazing is and what it looks like. Hazing is physical, emotional, or mental harassment from people in a social group that can cause embarrassment. It could look like an older member of an organization forcing a younger member to drink alcohol, or even older members bossing new members around for the benefit of the older member.
“Hazing is about power,” Swift said.
Swift also makes it clear that hazing is not Greek-specific. She said it can take place in athletics, marching bands, or any other social organization.
“You can use what you learn in Huskers Against Hazing well after you attend,” said NPHC member Santanna Schunk.
Students find especially helpful the discussion on the difference between hazing and pledging, according to Schunk.
Swift said that pledging is the process of a new member learning about their Greek-letter organization. Hazing could happen during the pledging process but, the terms are not synonymous.
Although Huskers Against Hazing is part of Swift’s current position, her involvement in multicultural Greek life stretches back into her childhood with her aunts and uncles.
“I remember growing up I was always surrounded by people in NPHC… they were strong leaders, especially in the black community,” Swift said.
Swift joined Zeta Phi Beta during her time in undergrad and became the president soon after her initiation.
Her passion for her sorority drove her to get more involved with multicultural Greek life at UNL. Swift said she took her current position to make sure these organizations, and their work, were being recognized.
“When I was in undergrad I had no guidance and didn’t know where to go,” Swift said.
Swift makes sure to bring her passion for guidance to each and every multicultural Greek event, especially Huskers Against Hazing.
Each Huskers Against Hazing session lasts around 30 minutes and is offered four times each semester.