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[J. Vessely] In my role as the Dean of Students, I came across a few situations that would be categorized as bullying, and my area of expertise is in the sport arena, so any number of times, Iíve talked with school groups, athletic teams, coaches, athletes about hazing, and what Iíve discovered is that thereís some very similar traits between bullying and hazing.

We need more education. We need to educate people as much as we can to the pitfalls of not punishing bullying, of trying to reward hazing because itís a rite of passage, itís a ritual. I like to think of hazing as bullying with an excuse, or bullying with a license.

Teasing is usually an incident or two of someone, in effect, making fun of someone; either what theyíre wearing, or how they look, or how poorly they did on a test. When it becomes prolonged, then thatís one of the traits of bullying. Itís a sense of someone trying to have power over someone else or a group of people, and itís a series of abusive kind of things, either emotional or physical.

The hazing, itís done with the notion that weíre trying to include you in a group; we want you to be part of the swim team; we want you to be part of a fraternity or a sorority, and thereís a test, so hazing is this test of how loyal we can determine youíre going to be. Well, I think, again, if we stereotype, there are the people, who we sometimes think are a little nerdy, so they somehow, not of their own doing, but somehow lend themselves to these sort of cowardly acts of bullying where someone says, boy, thereís somebody whoís easy to pick on. It is very common.

The person being bullied, or the person who is being hazed are afraid to come forward because there are repercussions, and sometimes the tempo picks up; well, you thought that was bad? Now that youíve told on us, now that youíve pointed a figure toward us, hereís what itís going to be from this point forward. In the case of hazing, itís often the coaches, and not to lump everybody in the same group, but sometimes itís a person whoís also in power whoís allowing this to happen, so who are you going to tell? If you go tell the coach, the coach may have already known it was taking place, and so there can be an issue there in terms of pointing it out.

If you think of the recent examples, in the case of hazing, the young man who pointed out the hazing on the team bus in the recent case; heís changed schools now three times, so there was a fallout for him reporting this. Stand up and not tolerate it. The sooner itís reported, the less power the person whoís doing the bullying or the hazing has cause you nip it right in the bud, so you want to make sure you get it stopped as quickly as possible.

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