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Sigma Kappa sister receives national hazing prevention recognition

04/25/2014
Molly VanWoert
Lead News Writer

A sister of the Indiana University of Pennsylvania chapter of Sigma Kappa has won the Hank Nuwer Anti-Hazing Hero Award for her work in hazing prevention on campus.

Danielle Deal (senior, marketing) served as vice president of new member education for Sigma Kappa last year and was nominated by one of her sisters for the award, which is named after an anti-hazing journalist and book author.

The award was created “to recognize individuals who have spoken out against hazing, prevented it, stopped it or in some way stood up and battled the problem,” according to hazingprevention.org.

Receiving the award is exciting not only for Deal but for Sigma Kappa as well, she said.

“Our chapter has gone through a lot of changes in the past year,” Deal said. “This really shows the positive changes we’ve been making and that we are making those changes for the right reasons.”

As vice president of new member education, Deal was in charge of making sure that new members were not being hazed in any way. She also educated new and existing members on the counterproductive effects hazing can cause and how to prevent it.

Of the three types of hazing, subtle hazing is the most common, she said.

Subtle hazing is “behaviors that emphasize a power imbalance between new members/rookies and other members of the group or team,” according to stophazing.org.

Subtle hazing is often thought of as harmless, the site said, and typically places new members on the receiving end of embarrassment or ridicule.

“I was hazed,” Deal said.

She experienced subtle hazing during the pledging process, she said, and it was the method of hazing formerly practiced by Sigma Kappa.

Something as simple as withholding letters from potential new members until the recruitment process is completed is considered a form of subtle hazing, Deal said.

“Girls earn those letters the day they get a bid,” she said. “Withholding them is not an appropriate thing to do.”

Other forms of hazing include harassment hazing and violent hazing.

Harassment hazing normally involves verbal abuse, requiring pledges to perform personal services for other members or sleep deprivation, according to stophazing.org. Violent hazing is behavior that escalates to the point of causing physical harm such as forced alcohol consumption, branding or paddling.

Hazing has the power to divide a group, Deal said. People tend to think, “It was done to me, so I can do it to them,” and it starts to become a tradition.

“That doesn’t mean that it’s what you have to do tomorrow or what you have to do today,” Deal said. “It’s okay to say, ‘I’m not doing this; I’m not comfortable.’ It only takes one person to take a stand.”

Deal spent her time as vice president of new member education working to ensure that all forms of hazing were eliminated from Sigma Kappa.

“It’s nice when girls come through recruitment to be able to say that there is no way we are going to haze you in any way,” she said.

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