At the Aug. 23 Student Senate meeting the Director of Student Life, Vincent Nguyen stood up and made a strong statement about the Tyler Junior College’s zero tolerance policy on hazing, which left several students wondering whether or not TJC has a problem.
Vice president of Student Senate, Caylee Stamps, said that the “Student Senate has a Zero tolerance policy on hazing” and that the reason it was brought up in the Aug. 23 meeting was to “stress so that we (the Student Senate) may ensure that it continues not to be a problem for Tyler Junior College.”
But the question remains would the Student Senate, that according to Stamps “has errors, no matter how hard we may strive,” be capable of handling a hazing incident? Although Stamps assures students that “up to this point in the year we’ve been following all the rules,” how can an organization, that in the past couldn’t even abide by its own rules, judge a club or organization whose members doesn’t abide by all of theirs?
“If there is any hazing going on, I haven’t been notified of it,” said Nguyen adding that the reason he got up and spoke specifically about it was more of a “proactive” measure than anything else. He also said that TJC had “never really” had a problem with hazing. However, he did say that if anyone was to report a hazing incident, the guidelines of the student handbook would be followed. According to the student handbook the definition of hazing is “any action taken or situation created whether on or off College property to produce mental, or physical discomfort, embarrassment, harassment, or ridicule.” According to that definition hazing would include things such as “dropping food (eggs, grapes, liver, etc.) in the mouth,” “not permitting a person to talk for an extended period of time,” and “expecting participation in activities that the full members are not willing to participate in.”
Just earlier this year the Kappa Alpha fraternity at Texas A&M University was under investigation for hazing. According to KTBX, a member from the Kappa Alpha fraternity shot a pet goat in front of pledges and also forced them to drink a concoction of spices, jalapeño peppers, and Dr. Pepper, which resulted in some pledges getting sick. In this case just the one member who carried out the hazing was suspended from the fraternity.
But in another case at A&M in 1997, a member of Kappa Alpha received a misdemeanor for his part in a hazing. Not only did the University suspend the Kappa Alpha recognition but the Kappa Alpha national headquarters suspended their chapter for two years.
Nguyen made it clear that if a student organization was caught hazing that the punishment would vary on a case by case basis. After the incident was reported to Nguyen it would be up to him to investigate the case.
If it does turn out that there was indeed a hazing incident, then he would try to solve the hazing incident within the campus’ club chapter so that the national chapter wouldn’t need to be called. But if the organization is not cooperative after a hazing investigation, then the national chapter would be called in to deal with the matter themselves. In some cases Nguyen said “something as simple as giving the organization community service” would be sufficient.