This week, Yale College Dean Mary Miller named the members of a new committee on hazing and initiations and established the group’s agenda.
The group, formed in response to the Delta Kappa Epsilon pledge chant incident this October, consists of 10 faculty and administrators and four undergraduates. Beginning next semester, it will examine initiation practices within registered and unregistered undergraduate organizations, Miller wrote in a letter to the committee’s members, and recommend ways to prevent hazing.
“The committee itself is of a size to do real work,” Miller wrote.
Judith Krauss NUR ’70, Silliman College master and chair of the Faculty Committee on Athletics, serve as the committee’s chairwoman and spokesperson. Other members include Athletics Director Tom Beckett and Jonathan Holloway GRD ’95, chair of the Council of Masters. Krauss said in an e-mail to the News Tuesday that the committee’s work will be less about “investigating” and more about ”learning” how initiations fit into Yale’s undergraduate organizations. The committee hopes to find “good examples” of initiation practices that encourage bonding without coercing or degrading students or breaking the law, she added.
“The line between initiation and hazing is a blurry one as we’ve learned from recent events,” Krauss said. “I think the time is right for this committee and we have to make positive efforts to understand the culture and make needed changes.”
Committee members will hold “focus sessions” with different campus groups, including risk management, health care and legal experts, and current and former Executive Committee leadership, Miller wrote. The committee will also take a look at Yale’s current definition of hazing, taking into account the wording of Connecticut state law, she added.
In an e-mail to the News Tuesday night, Miller said the committee will combine its findings into a report “in due time,” but added that she asked the group to work as quickly as possibly.
The committee may also meet with members of the Singing Council and the Senior Society Council, athletic team captains and presidents of fraternities and sororities. In her letter, Miller explained that “the students who serve on the committee will not be asked to ‘represent’ these organizations in any explicit way.”
At the committee’s first meeting next semester, Miller wrote, it will review Yale College guidelines on confidentiality.