Standing Against Hazing Builds Respect and Honorable Brotherhood

September 22, 2017


The goal is clear. Prevent hazing. National Hazing Prevention Week is an opportunity for campuses, schools, communities, organizations, and individuals to raise awareness about the problem of hazing, educate others about hazing, and promote prevention. As part of the conversation about hazing prevention three Delta Tau Delta alumni have shared thoughts on the prevention of hazing and why we need to talk about it.

Kevin Snyder

(University of North Carolina – Wilmington, 1998), Chapter advisor for both Delta Kappa Chapter at Duke University and Zeta Tau Chapter at the University of North Carolina - Wilmington

Justin Archote

(Southeastern Louisiana University, 2017) is a former chapter president of Epsilon Phi Chapter

Scott Snyder

(Kettering University B, 2012), is chapter advisor for Epsilon Iota B Chapter at Kettering University

What do you feel it takes for students to stand up against hazing?

Kevin Snyder: Courage, and that's one of Delta Tau Delta’s fundamental pillars and values. Standing up for what is right and what builds upon brotherhood is what has kept our fraternity resilient since 1858.

What do you feel a chapter gains by staying clear of any hazing?

Kevin Snyder: Respect and honorable brotherhood.

How does the chapter you advise convey to potential members that hazing has no place in the chapter?

Kevin Snyder: Through recruitment, education and setting expectations. You have to communicate effectively, so no weeds grow inside the garden. The moment weeds start to develop is the moment they take over the fruit. So setting high, no-tolerance expectations is the only solution. But most importantly, none of this can be done without talking about hazing. It must be addressed several times throughout the semester.

What do you feel are the most important points in conversations about hazing prevention?

Kevin Snyder: There needs to be open, honest conversation about hazing. Understanding the myths and facts about hazing will shed light why assumptions are made and why it even exists. If chapters do participate in hazing activities, it's likely due to the fact they aren't aware of what hazing is and the damage it causes. I've traveled to more than 60 chapters of Delta Tau Delta, been a Greek Advisor, been a dean of students, and I have spoken at more than 400 college campuses. I've never know or worked with a successful chapter who “successfully” hazed. It always caught up with them with devastating consequences at some point. Hazing also leads to decreased brotherhood and disrespect. Advisors need to be talking about hazing in an open environment so that anyone can ask questions and seek to understand better why anyone feels hazing aligns with our Delt values.

How can an advisor set the tone for chapter members regarding hazing prevention?

Kevin Snyder: An effective advisor serves multiple roles. One is being a trusted advisor men can speak to. If I'm not trusted by the chapter I support and serve, then no men will speak with me about issues that are challenging. So the young men need to know they can trust me enough to have a conversation if they are concerned about an issue such as hazing. Another role advisors play is a mentor. A mentor is someone who others respect and seek out for advice. In a mentor role, advisors can be very effective showing a clear path for what is right and what is wrong. However, mentorship is something given by the advisor, not demanded. It requires building a relationship first. And thirdly, another role advisors play is someone with experience who should be a resource to interpret and communicate expectations and policies of the university and fraternity. Setting the proper tone requires trust, mentorship and being a knowledgeable resource.

How do you feel in seeing undergraduates continue to stand against hazing?

Kevin Snyder: Watching young men stand for something, such as our Fraternity values, is inspiring. Watching young men stand against what is wrong, such as hazing, is even more impressive because they are taking action against it. From my experience working with literally hundreds of fraternity and sorority life communities, it's those groups who are passionate advocates of their values and are proud fraternity men and women who have thriving communities on their campus. Of the 400-plus campuses I've spoken at and worked with as a speaker, Greek advisor and dean, I can't recall one campus that stood FOR hazing that even exists today. If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything.

How do you address the topic of hazing with chapter leaders?

Scott Snyder: Hazing should never be tolerated even on the smallest level. I reaffirm to the chapter that when I was going through the new member process if I had been hazed even in the slightest, I would not have continued. I cannot support an organization built on such values. I usually address this at the first exec meeting of the semester, and then I address the whole chapter right before formal recruitment begins. This helps put it into their heads my primary message -- stop recruiting jerks.

How do you feel alumni can make a positive impact in hazing prevention?

Scott Snyder: I believe that alumni provide a unique, historical perspective. This helps the chapter realize that the culture has changed greatly over the years, but the overarching theme of "no hazing" has been a firm belief for as long as we've been a chapter. From some of my recent training through the Fraternity (during conference), I was taught the values-based question approach. I love this new way of thinking about my role. It helps me to realize that I am just an entity of the Fraternity as a whole sent to help young men with their decision-making. Remaining quiet and letting them talk things out usually sorts out the majority of questionable ideas, but sometimes I find myself asking them how their suggestion(s) tie into our Ritual. How does what you are proposing fit with the Fraternity's policies? This approach helps me teach them how to evaluate their ideas and thoughts without interjecting my perspective.

As a chapter president, how did you share the message that hazing has no place in the chapter?

Justin Archote: Hazing is fairly easy to avoid when there's no history of it in recent times. There are always a hand full of guys that may try to get it started. As president, I constantly harped on the fact that we were all grown men, and it's ridiculous to disrespect and belittle another man to see if he's worthy of joining our organization. Instead of looking to how far someone will go to be a member, we should be looking at their values and their character. That says enough about a man.

As a recent graduate, what message do feel is most important for undergraduate members?

Justin Archote: I constantly harp on the fact that your experience in Delta Tau Delta is what you make it. If you coast through your time as an undergraduate, you may have a decent experience. If you jump at every opportunity and give it your all, Delta Tau Delta will change your life. I certainly feel that it has done just that for me. The best part about it is, the undergraduate experience is typically only four years. You have the rest of your life to give back and reap the rewards of Delta Tau Delta.