The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Expert hazing prosecutor addresses Greeks

Fraternities and sororities welcomed speaker David Westol to the campus to address the problem of hazing in the Greek system. CSUN is a no-hazing campus and the Greek council opposes it as well.

Westol graduated from the University of Michigan and was an assistant prosecutor for nine years. He has also tried 55 felony cases and has closed 71 fraternities and sororities over the last 18 years, 60 with the root cause being hazing.

Westol gave great insight into the dangers and hazards of hazing. He said fraternities or sororities that incorporate hazing into their initiation processes tend to use ridicule, sarcasm and intimidation to control prospective members.

His mock trial consisted of a fictitious fraternity in which prospective members must go through hazing. Westol gave the worst possible scenario of a recruit dying in the middle of the initiation process because of hazing. Even though it was the worst-case scenario it isn’t an uncommon occurrence.

According to Westol, there have been six deaths from hazing in 2009 and five of those deaths involved alcohol.

‘Hazing is very bad, it can kill people,’ said Michael Rosenthal a CSUN student and member of the Greek community. ‘It’s a terrible thing.’

It’s not only fraternities and sororities that haze, other organizations including athletics play a part in the traditions of hazing. The seniors on a team will often force freshmen to carry the team’s equipment as part of ritual or will use intimidation to get something their way.

Westol advocated having one standard for all fraternities and sororities. According to him, most organizations that promote hazing are lazy, don’t care and have no motivation.

‘I didn’t know hazing was that bad. I didn’t know so many fraternities did it and it’s worse for girls,’ said David Mabasa of Phi Sigma Kappa.

The picture Westol painted was influential and showed the true dedication he has against hazing. Most of his insight about the problem of hazing comes from his personal experiences. Westol himself partook in hazing as both a victim and perpetrator.’

‘Some traditions have to stay, some traditions have to go,’ said Westol about how he believes hazing needs to stop. ‘Lead by what we do, not by what we say.’

Penalties for fraternities and sororities that condone hazing can include probation or the revoking of a chapter’s charter.

‘Here at CSUN we don’t have a hazing problem so this is to help with the continuing of it,’ said Sarah Elroy president of the Panhellenic Council.

The commitment Westol has opposing hazing is one that runs deep. Everyone in the audience saw his concern about how horrible hazing can get. Fraternity and Sorority members alike took away Westol’s message from the presentation.

‘A lot of what he said about how fraternities and sororities lie to get their way made sense,’ said Tracy Escobedo of Alpha Sigma.

‘It was informative, it gave good ideals to the Greek life on campus,’ said Marco Perez.

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