In the wake of a tragic hazing, Greek life changes in compelling and positive ways

Recent coverage of the Danny Santulli tragedy, about a young man injured in a fraternity hazing incident three years ago, has shed light on the harmful hazing practices known to take place in a small number of fraternities. But the proven social and academic benefits of Greek life are numerous and often overlooked, and a lot has changed in three years. An aggressive effort to stamp out this type of behavior, both at the state and national level, has gained momentum in the years since Danny Santulli’s harm and is yielding positive results.

A few weeks after the Santulli incident in 2021, the Mizzou Greek Alliance was formed by a group of fathers and grandfathers who were former members of the fraternity. Some of us experienced some type of hazing in our youth, and while most of us were harmless, we knew from our nearly 300 years of combined experience as counselors , that in the right circumstances it could become dangerous. We recruited dozens of Greek alumni to the cause and, channeling our determination, we immediately launched a training and education campaign designed to raise awareness and ultimately eradicate hazing, dangerous drinking and other harmful behaviors within fraternities. Sixteen chapters of the fraternity joined our group. We brought in speakers from across the country and generated a YouTube video, now viewed 1,300 times, highlighting the worst hazing incidents in recent years and the harsh consequences that hit those involved.

Robert Selsor

We also worked hand-in-hand with University of Missouri administrators to develop aspects of a new student code of conduct that rewards student organizations for controlling their own ranks and punishes them when they fail to resist to bad actors. Our public website also highlights a wide variety of resources for chapter leaders and advisors, as well as hard data on presenting issues and proven solutions. We have a bill in the Missouri General Assembly, known as “Danny’s Law,” in honor of Danny Santulli, that will grant immunity from prosecution to anyone who is the first to call 911 to get help for a member of an organization in distress. following hazing or dangerous action.

The University of Missouri has also addressed the issue forcefully. Every new member of a Greek organization must now participate in an interactive training session on hazing and alcohol abuse that teaches them to spot harmful behavior when it begins and equips them to deal with it . National fraternities have also devoted millions of dollars in resources not only to training and education, but also to enforcing standards of conduct against rogue sections and members. The continued public prosecution of the worst offenders has also sent a strong message that this type of behavior will not remain hidden, nor will it be tolerated. The result of these and other efforts across the country appears to be translating into measurable results….

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