Georgetown University’s Track and Field program recently came under heavy scrutiny following accusations of hazing and racial bias, levied by student-athletes.
The results of the investigations show a culture very much in opposition to Georgetown’s values. While not every athlete participated in hazing, the locker room culture that promotes such activities is not in the best interest of any member. Promoting a comfortable and supportive environment that allows a team to perform to the best of their ability is much more conducive to success on the field than promoting division and belittlement.
It is important to remember that all hazing practices are reprehensible, beyond the scope of athletics. While the culpable members of the track program should take this time to rethink their roles as leaders in the community, it is too simplistic to believe this is a problem only for sports teams.
In a March email, Office of Student Conduct Associate Director Adam Fountaine recognized that targeted education is one manner to “proactively contribute to [the hazing] conversation on our own campus … with approaches that are safe and in alignment with our Jesuit values.” Such robust education program has yet to be found.
So far, the Hazing Prevention and Education Committee’s website, “Stop Hazing” — launched in March to provide educational resources on hazing incidents to the community and a reporting system for students to share information on hazing-related incidents — lacks the scope required for a program that seeks to change the hazing culture found in some of Georgetown’s organizations.
Building a successful team of athletes just can’t be done in the backdrop of humiliation. And while those found guilty by the university’s Office of Institutional Diversity Equity and Affirmative Action must reflect on their actions, the administration must also recognize that in failing to institute an educational program which effectively targets hazing, some of the blame falls on them.
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