HazingPrevention.Org (HPO) is proud to announce the recipients of this year’s Hank Nuwer Anti-Hazing Hero Award. The award recognizes nominated individuals who stood up to hazing in their organizations, at their schools and campuses, and those who have helped educate others about the dangers of hazing. The 2016 Awards are made possible with support from Phi Delta Theta Fraternity, Lianne Kowiak and Hank Nuwer.
The award is named in honor of Hank Nuwer, a long-time anti-hazing journalist and the author of multiple books and a blog which is hosted on HazingPrevention.Org. A member of the faculty at Franklin College, Professor Nuwer is a former member of the HPO Board of Directors.
Trey, a high school student, was a victim of hazing as a member of his school football team, and suffered both physical and psychological injuries. He had the courage to report what had happened, both to him and to other team members, and when the story made the local news, many local families chose sides and treated him unfairly. Yet, in the wake of all this, he held his head high and spoke with the necessary officials to stop the abuse at the high school that year and to prevent it from happening to others as well. Trey stood up for others despite the difficulty.
Dakota is a recent graduate of Case Western Reserve University and a member of Sigma Nu Fraternity. While the national organization is anti-hazing and makes a point of that, what happens in local chapters sometimes does not match words, and so local skits and games persisted. Dakota, having no formal authority to do so, stood up in a chapter meeting and said ‘This is hazing. This is wrong, and it needs to stop’. He has changed the culture of the chapter and his anti-hazing efforts have extended across campus. He looks for ways to challenge other organizations about their practices, and is making the community safer and more respectful as a result.
Justin is a tireless champion for anti-hazing education. Whether as a fraternity staffer, graduate assistant, facilitator, or alumni advisor, Justin’s work has been effective in guiding students and alumni volunteers to replace hazing and abusive ‘traditions’ with positive activities and values-based leadership skills. After completing his master’s degree in college student personnel, Justin enrolled in law school where he continued his passion for anti-hazing initiatives. The Akron Law Review recently published Justin’s law review article, in which Justin proposed changes to Ohio’s anti-hazing statute. Justin completed law school in 2015 and passed the Ohio bar exam soon thereafter.
Colin witnessed hazing and was a recipient of hazing as a pledge for his fraternity at the University of Connecticut. He spoke out and told his story even though it caused him to be largely ostracized from his fraternity chapter and lose some privileges of membership. Since then, he has been a tireless advocate for hazing prevention, and has spoken on national media although it was uncomfortable for him to do so. He continues his work in hazing prevention as he becomes a teacher and shares his message with his future students.
DEBBIE SMITH, MM
Debbie is the Founder and CEO of the AHA! Movement, a non-profit anti-hazing awareness organization created in the memory of her son Matt Carrington who was killed in a water hazing pledging a fraternity in 2005. Debbie has devoted her life to bringing awareness to hazing. She played a key role in the plea bargaining of the seven young men charged with killing her son, getting the first ever felony in the United States, on a flawed law. In 2006 she lead the charge in getting Matt’s Law passed in the state of California making it a felony to seriously injure or kill someone during a hazing. She speaks at schools, clubs, and organizations helping them to identify hazing on the onset and understand the difference between hazing and bullying. She also makes herself available to parents and families who have lost a child, and helps them come to terms with their devastation.
HazingPrevention.Org is a national organization dedicated to empowering people to prevent hazing, by providing education and resources, and building partnerships with others. Major initiatives of the organization include National Hazing Prevention Week TM, the Novak Institute for Hazing Prevention TM, and educational courses that touch the lives of thousands of individuals, organizations, campuses and communities.