1 – Joe Gilman’s Role with FGRC/FSPAC and HPO - I apologize that I mistakenly attributed Mr. Gilman with a position of formal leadership within the FGRC/FSPAC. I was under the impression that he was a former FGRC board member. I was mistaken, and I apologize for the error. He is, however, a donor listed on the organization’s website. As you also noted, Joe is a former regent of Sigma Nu fraternity, an organization that is a top contributor listed on the FSPAC website. Mr. Gilman is also prominently featured on the banner picture on the top of the FGRC homepage, indicating that he has, at the very least, been personally and intimately involved with the group’s lobbying efforts. Suffice it to say, Joe has a vested interest in the operations and activities of the FSPAC and the FGRC.
With regards to the response of HazingPrevention.Org to my article, here is a copy of the email sent by Charles Hall, HPO Executive Director, upon receipt of the article:
After some discussion with Joe Gilman, our Chairman of the Board, we feel HPO needs to pass on this article for the newsletter. At this time we do not have a position on federal anti-hazing legislation, and even if we did, we have to be careful about going over the line on the ‘legislative lobbying’ infringement which could impact our non-profit status in the future. I trust you understand this delicate position for HPO when it comes to political legislation implications.
Thank you for all the support you have provided HPO over the years. We appreciate your efforts to continue the HPO mission to educate organization and individuals with the hazing prevention model. We look forward to continuing to have you as a HPO supporter.
I found it very odd that HPO, a group that is committed to hazing prevention, was unwilling to publish an article aimed at starting a dialogue regarding how prevention might be promoted at the federal level, regardless of whether organizational leadership agreed with all of the suggestions. They did not come back to me with feedback or suggestions for improvement – they dismissed the article out of hand. I personally served as the editor of the HPO newsletter for two years. During that time, I am not aware of a single instance where articles were vetted through the board chairman. Also during that time, I published an article comparing the hazing prevention movement to the anti-bullying movement. In that article, I specifically pointed out that the anti-bullying movement has been more effective at lobbying for change at the federal level, which was part of the reason for their success. No one in HPO leadership had any issue or expressed any concern with that article at the time. Why the sudden change in position? Could it be that many of the same individuals and groups that support the efforts of FGRC and the FSPAC are also the largest contributors to HPO? And could it be that HPO leadership did not want to promote an article that was in open disagreement with the stated position of FGRC/FSPAC? I suspect that there may be some connection between the two, and I think most reasonable people who look at the facts would agree with me.
Also, let me be clear about one thing - I am not in any way implying that Joe Gilman has done anything unethical. Joe is a good man, someone I consider a friend, and has done many wonderful things for both HPO and the fraternal movement. I am only suggesting that his involvement with FGRC/FSPAC was a significant factor in the decision not to publish the article in the HPO newsletter.