Tuesday, August 6, 2013

FratPAC and Hazing at the Federal Level

I'm the last person who ever thought I would start my own blog.  Well, necessity is the mother of invention, I suppose.  When the news broke last week about the FratPAC's lobbying efforts, I was a little surprised to see the oft-repeated line from FRGC brass indicating their position that hazing was an issue best left to the states.  I thought a lot about the pros and cons of state vs. federal action, and came up with a few ideas of what effective federal legislation might look like.

I was proud of my effort, and immediately shipped it off to HazingPrevention.Org for consideration in their upcoming newsletter.  To my surprise, I was informed that HPO does not have a position on federal hazing legislation, and that they were going to pass on my article.  Upon further investigation, I found the news not-so-surprising.  The HPO Board Chairman, Joe Gilman (who is a great guy, and someone I consider a friend), is a donor and past board member of the FratPAC.  So I understand why HPO leadership decided to pass on my article.

Next, I shopped it to AFA Essentials.  They loved the article, and asked to hang on to if for a few months until it better fit with the theme of their monthly newsletter.  Me, being the impatient guy that I am, didn't want to wait.

So here we are.  My first blog.  This may be the only time I do this.  I'm counting on the power of social media to help me spread this message.  We'll see how this little experiment works.  Enjoy!


Addressing Hazing at the Federal Level

Late last week, news broke indicating that the Fraternity and Sorority Political Action Committee (FSPAC) was actively engaged in lobbying against federal anti-hazing legislation proposed by Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL).  Her proposed legislation (which has yet to be submitted as a bill before Congress) would, among other things, require mandated reporting of hazing allegations and would eliminate Federal Financial Aid benefits to students found responsible for hazing. 

According to North American Interfraternity Conference (NIC) president Pete Smithhisler (http://abcnews.go.com/Business/fraternity-group-lobbies-hazing-reform/story?id=19766121), the Fraternal Government Relations Committee (FGRC) has, in fact, met with Rep. Wilson regarding concerns about her proposed legislation, and public records indicate that the FSPAC donated $1,000 to her campaign fund.  The FGRC training packet for the April 2013 congressional visits contains a brief section regarding hazing legislation, including this excerpt:

While we lead the fight against hazing, we do not think it should be a federal issue. For many legal and policy reasons, we oppose proposed legislation that denies federal financial aid to students subject to a university sanction for hazing. We believe this legislation would result in more problems than it solves in regards to hazing.

While their critiques of the legislation are legitimate, their involvement in lobbying against proposed hazing legislation could be problematic, especially for the NIC and the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC), the two groups who founded and financially support the FGRC.  Public commentary from FRGC leadership has always suggested that their lobbying efforts included three main legislative priorities: to protect fraternity/sorority exemptions articulated under Title IX, to protect tax deductions for fraternity/sorority charitable contributions, and to promote the Collegiate Housing and Infrastructure Act (CHIA), which would allow for tax-deductible gifts towards fraternity/sorority housing.  Public documents and websites related to the FGRC and the NIC/NPC government relations efforts make little mention of any lobbying on behalf of or in opposition to federal hazing legislation.  In a phone conversation, Pete Smithhisler indicated that the decision was made to only communicate the hazing lobbying effort "to our internal constituents” (Pete Smithhisler, Personal Communication, July 25, 2013).  Based on this admission, it appears that many individuals may have donated to the FSPAC under the auspices of supporting CHIA, with no knowledge that the funds would be used to lobby for or against federal anti-hazing legislation.

Social media has been abuzz with conversation regarding this revelation.  Those defending the NIC/FGRC/FSPAC are quick to point out the flaws in Rep. Wilson’s proposed legislation (http://wilson.house.gov/press-releases/congresswoman-wilson-announces-framework-for-anti-hazing-legislation/).  This criticism is not without merit.  Her proposal of denying federal financial aid benefits to any student found responsible for hazing, or witnessing hazing but not reporting it, would have far-reaching unintended consequences and would disproportionately affect low-income students.

With that said, some of the arguments against her proposed legislation appear misguided.  Several have argued that there is no need for a federal anti-hazing bill – that the issue is best left to the states.  The argument that only the states should be involved in hazing does not reflect an understanding of existing prevention framework.  Those who study the science of prevention are well aware of Bronfebrenner’s “Social Ecological Model” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_ecological_model).  The Social Ecological Model describes various levels of intervention that can affect behavior change.  The outermost layer, the “macro-system,” is often thought of in regards to public policy.  The laws governing any particular behavior are an important part of promoting change with regards to that behavior.  This is a basic tenant of the framework taught at the Novak Institute for Hazing Prevention, and has been previously discussed when comparing the anti-bullying movement to the hazing prevention movement (http://myemail.constantcontact.com/Learning-from-the-Anti-Bullying-Movement.html?soid=1101826026302&aid=OBB2_TrwoF0). 

Furthermore, the federal government has demonstrated its ability to bring about behavioral change on college campuses.  For an example of this, one should look no further than the April 2011 “Dear Colleague Letter” from the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/dear_colleague_sexual_violence.pdf).  This letter, and the laws that now undergird it (http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/vawa_factsheet.pdf), have drastically improved the way that college campuses prevent and respond to allegations of sexual misconduct.  Sadly, it appears that the FGRC, along with the leadership of the NIC and NPC, have also lobbied against those reforms (http://www.fspac.org/images/uploads/FratPAC_S12_Newsletter.pdf).

Assuming that the FGRC is genuine in its assertion that it would support “well-crafted” federal anti-hazing legislation, it is worth proposing what effective federal legislation might look like.  The following list includes a number of possible ways that hazing prevention could be enacted at the federal level:

Include Hazing in Clery Report Statistics

The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act was passed in 1990 in response to the 1986 rape and murder of Jeanne Clery at Lehigh University.  The Clery Act requires, among other things, colleges to publish an annual security report.  This report contains statistics about campus crime, including crimes of violence and crimes involving violations of drug and alcohol laws.  The Clery Act was amended in 2013 as part of the Violence Against Women Act to include a number of new crimes in the security report, including domestic violence and stalking.

Many campuses attempt to keep hazing allegations and investigations quiet in an effort to reduce negative publicity and to curry favor with prominent alumni.  As a result, prospective students and their parents are often ill-informed regarding the prevalence of hazing on the campuses they are considering attending.  By including hazing allegations on the Clery Report, prospective students will be able to  make better-informed decisions, and campuses will be more accountable for their respective hazing cultures.  Furthermore, as organizational conduct records are not protected by FERPA, campuses could be required to publish the names of any organizations found responsible for hazing in their Clery Report.  This would add an additional layer of accountability to both the institutions and the organizations involved in hazing.

Promulgate Investigative/Adjudicative Model Similar to the One Outlined by the OCR for Title IX Cases

The April 4, 2011 “Dear Colleague” Letter issued by the Office of Civil Rights in the Department of Education put colleges on notice that the manner in which they were handling, or mishandling, sexual misconduct allegations was no longer acceptable.  The letter laid out a number of guidelines, many of which were later codified under the Violence Against Women Act in 2013.  While the NIC, at least, appears to have concerns regarding the mandated “preponderance of the evidence” threshold for burden of proof in Title IX cases, other aspects of the DCL provide a valuable framework for addressing and adjudicating hazing on college campuses.

The DCL guidelines included very specific language related to the “fair and equitable” investigation and adjudication of sexual assault allegations.  It required campuses to appoint a Title IX coordinator and to have trained, unbiased investigators.  The letter provided protections to victims, allowing conduct processes to proceed without forcing the victim to face her attacker.  Each of these requirements, and more, would drastically improve the way college campuses respond to hazing allegations if they were applied in that fashion. 

It is well-documented that many college campuses have attempted to minimize hazing allegations, particularly those that do not result in physical injury or harm.  The culture that is created by this “head in the sand approach” is one that allows for greater rates of perpetration.  Federal legislation could require campuses to report hazing allegations to a designated “Hazing Prevention Coordinator,” require timely investigations by a trained, unbiased investigator, allow for the results of investigations to be presented at a hearing without the participation of victims.  By moving towards this type of model, campuses would be forced to address all hazing allegations, regardless of severity, and provide a timely, fair and equitable outcome.  This would surely be an improvement on a majority of campuses.

Loss of Federal Financial Aid Benefits for Anyone Criminally Convicted of Hazing

Representative Wilson’s original proposal would have denied federal aid benefits to anyone found responsible in a campus conduct hearing for any type of hazing, or for anyone who witnessed hazing, including as a victim, and did not report it to the proper authorities.  This proposal is problematic for a number of reasons, all of which have been pointed out by the FGRC.

However, the idea of denying federal aid benefits should not be dismissed outright.  Under current law, students can be denied federal aid for a variety of drug and forcible sex offenses (http://studentaid.ed.gov/eligibility/criminal-convictions).  However, these restrictions only apply if and when a student (or prospective student) has been convicted in a criminal proceeding.  Currently, 44 of 50 states have hazing laws.  In order to truly be effective, it would be necessary to have some uniformity to these laws and to bring the other six states (Alaska, Hawaii, Montana, New Mexico, South Dakota and Wyoming) into the fold.  If that happened, a restriction of federal financial aid to anyone criminally convicted of hazing would send a clear message to would-be hazers, particularly in those states with strong anti-hazing laws.


The function and activities of the so-called “FratPAC” will likely continue to stir debate.  While their aims and purposes appear to be noble, it cannot be denied that they, like many other lobbying groups, represent powerful special interests.  It also cannot be argued that their efforts, and the resulting media coverage, represent a black eye for the “fraternity movement.”  Openly lobbying against federal hazing legislation was a bad idea.  Period. Regardless, those of us interested in hazing prevention should be interested in pursuing any and all opportunities that show promise in preventing hazing.  The suggestions in this article are likely only the tip of the iceberg in terms of what might be effective at the federal level.  But to be outright dismissive of any federal involvement in hazing prevention is shortsighted.  Let us continue to pursue opportunities to reduce the prevalence and severity of hazing at all levels and in all settings.


  1. Love this, Gentry! I have been saying all three of these things for a few years and especially in regard to the recent FratPAC statements. If we are lobbying against a bad proposal, maybe we should offer up something better.

    I don't think you addressed the comments that some commenters and FratPac members noted: that the bill would disproportionately target fraternities/sororities. (How many of hazing deaths in the past 10 years have been in Greek-letter orgs? a disproportionate amount I am sure). Maybe that is the incentive campuses and national organizations need to make better/more effective efforts to eliminate hazing. We all know just saying we have a hazing policy or zero tolerance for hazing does nothing. We need to enforce those better and provide students safer rites of passage to fill their need for accomplishment.

    I also think another piece is looking at the criminal proceedings related to hazing. Charge perpetrators with hazing they may get a year in jail or probation; charge them with murder/manslaughter or assault and they get a more significant punishment. Right now hazing is still looked at as just fun and games that occasionally goes wrong, but those involved and no intention of hurting anyone. No different than vehicular manslaughter. I'm sure most of those people do not plan to hurt anyone when making bad driving decisions but they made mistakes, broke the law, and must be held accountable. The same should be true for hazing.

  2. Gentry - Keep writing and sharing your thoughts.

    A few quick reactions - The flaws in Rep. Wilson's proposed laws are really flaws in how the Federal government can respond to criminal behavior. In this case, their only weapon is with federal funds. Crafting a Federal law has to take into account these limitations. You should mention that your first two ideas would also come with a threat of withholding federal funds to institutions for non-compliance (which is fine with me).

    To me, the denial of federal financial aid for a criminal conviction makes sense. This would need to be accompanied by uniform hazing laws and prosecution. The disproportionate application of this sanction doesn't seem to be a problem with drug convictions.

    In addition to the six states mentioned, the District of Columbia does not have a "State" anti-hazing law.

    To answer Nat's question above - Of the 26 college hazing deaths listed by Hank Nuwer since 2004, six have involved non-fraternity or underground groups.

  3. Thanks for the thoughts - Dean, the withholding of federal funds is not the only weapon - the federal government can fine institutions under the Clery Act. In fact, several major campus fines were announced this year for Clery compliance issues.

    Obviously, the inconsistency in state hazing laws is an issue. Not sure I have a solution for that - it would be great to see the FratPAC put its money where its mouth is and lobby the six states (and DC) without laws to pass them. Something tells me that isn't a high priority for them.

    I've been told that those in the FGRC brass, including some noted "hazing prevention experts," have doubled down in recent days on the "this should be a state and not a federal issue" company line. I think those who make that claim do so either with an agenda or with a complete lack of understanding of the tools the federal government has at its disposal. The federal government has drastically improved the way college campuses respond to and adjudicate sexual assault cases - they could very easily do the same with hazing.

  4. Coming soon to a ProQuest database near you, a review of state anti-hazing legislation and its application in courts of law.

    Hypothesis, a uniform definition of hazing and a uniform definition of criminal hazing would at least clear the issue of some of its baggage. It likely wont stop someone from hazing but at least we could criminally pursue those who do.

  5. Gentry - I actually agree that hazing should be primarily a state issue, however, it is lazy to dismiss the impact that federal involvement can have. Ultimately it will be local prosecutors enforcing state laws that will be bringing these cases.

    Since hazing definitions are generally varied and vague, resulting in few (if any) hazing convictions, I was wondering what your thoughts were on using sentencing enhancement for hazing?

    1. What exactly do you mean by sentencing enhancement?

  6. In many cases, what is described as hazing is easier to prove using other criminal laws (assault, providing alcohol to a minor, manslaughter, etc.), sentencing enhancement would add a requirement for increased penalty when the crime is the result of hazing. This is similar to the enhancement for using a gun in a robbery attempt. I believe there are also enhancements for "hate crimes" in several places. It might make it easier for a prosecutor to act when they are more familiar with the charge, and then add the hazing enhancement in the sentencing phase.

    Here is an article from The Journal of Law and Economics talking about sentencing enhancements as a deterrent. (Steven Levitt is one of the Freakonomics guys.)


  7. Dear Gentry:

    I write to take issue with many of the assertions made in your blog post yesterday. While every blog wants traffic, any effort to be relevant should be accompanied by an effort to be accurate; otherwise, one is practicing sensationalism.

    Your blog reinforces an unfortunate narrative based on two extraordinarily biased and flawed media stories by Bloomberg. The “convict first, facts last” approach is not one that reflects the scholarly thinking. To be clear, I am a founder, past president, board member and donor to the Fraternity and Sorority PAC (FSPAC). Let me start with the factual errors in your post, for they are significant and undermine the credibility of your arguments going forward.

    Error 1 – “The HPO Board Chairman, Joe Gilman (who is a great guy, and someone I consider a friend), is a donor and past board member of the FratPAC. So I understand why HPO leadership decided to pass on my article.”

    Joe Gilman, distinguished past regent (national president) of Sigma Nu, recognized interfraternal leader and current President of Hazing Prevention.org, has never been a member of the Board of Directors of FSPAC. And, he is a good friend of mine. Joe has no leadership role in the Fraternal Government Relations Coalition (FGRC) which oversees the fraternity and sorority world’s policy agenda in Washington. Your insinuation that Joe’s financial support of FSPAC is linked to another organization’s decision not to publish your article appears self-serving and is contrary to all facts. You should immediately correct this error in your blog and offer an apology to Joe and HazingPrevention.org – his leadership, and the organization’s, in the fight against hazing is above reproach.

    Error 2 – “FratPAC's lobbying efforts”

    Your article, like much of the news coverage of the last few weeks, confuses the work of several similarly named organizations. The FGRC handles the policy work for the fraternity and sorority world in Washington and is comprised of the NIC, NPC and the FSPAC. The FSPAC is an organization that raises money to support federal candidates for office who believe in the fraternity experience. In your haste to post, you failed to take the time needed to familiarize yourself enough with these entities to actually understand and explain their roles. Please update your post to use the correct organizational terminology.

    Error 3 – You overstate the number of crimes currently subject to federal financial aid.

    The sexual offenses provision applies only to those who have a post-incarceration civil commitment order, which is a much smaller population of offenders. Please read the website cited in your blog post.

    I will continue this response in follow-up posts.

  8. Continued from my previous post.

    Error 4 – “Public documents and websites related to the FGRC and the NIC/NPC government relations efforts make little mention of any lobbying on behalf of or in opposition to federal hazing legislation…. It appears that many individuals may have donated to the FSPAC under the auspices of supporting CHIA, with no knowledge that the funds would be used to lobby for or against federal anti-hazing legislation.”

    I am disappointed that you failed to do basic research and fact-checking to actually verify some of the central assertions of your thesis, especially when the answers are readily available. Since you were writing about FSPAC, a simple visit to the website would have shown that they have been consistently communicating with their donors and interested parties (every national fraternity/sorority gets copies of these publications from FSPAC) about their work on hazing.

    Let’s walk through the information:
    From the Winter 2011/2012 newsletter to all FSPAC donors, discussing the work of the FGRC and the FSPAC role in that work: “The importance of the coalition was recently made clear during deliberations on potential federal hazing legislation. Rather than react to legislation before it is introduced, the coalition swiftly and effectively communicated our concerns of the community to the potential lead sponsor’s office. We rightly positioned ourselves as longtime leaders in the fight against hazing and as people with a track record of working in statehouses across America to push strong anti-hazing laws. While the proposed federal anti-hazing legislation has not yet been introduced, we continue to monitor the development of this issue and we expect our voice will be heard in the debate that ensues after a bill is introduced”

    In another article in that same newsletter:: “We also anticipate that the high-profile hazing death of a band student in Florida will lead to the introduction of federal legislation this spring that would strip students disciplined for hazing offenses of any federally backed financial aid. While the fraternity world strongly supports passage and enforcement of strong antihazing legislation at the state level across the country, we have reservations about federally supported penalties that could jeopardize a student’s ability to stay in school. The FSPAC is working with other interested organizations to determine how best to support a federal presence in the important fight against hazing.”

    I will continue this response in a follow-up post.

  9. Continued from my previous post.

    In the FSPAC’s very next donor newsletter, published in spring/summer of 2012, the following information was included: “The tragic death of a band major at Florida A&M in 2011 has drawn new federal attention to the issue of hazing. The FSPAC has been working closely with the North-American Interfraternity Council (NIC) and the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) to educate key committees and members of Congress about the leadership role fraternities and sororities already play in combating hazing on campus. As recently as March, the FSPAC’s immediate past president, Julie Burkhard, Alpha Chi Omega, testified before a Georgia State Assembly committee hearing in favor of a bill to provide tougher penalties for students criminally convicted of hazing in the state. The FSPAC continues to support efforts to make hazing a crime in all 50 states (it is a crime in 44 states currently) and we believe that the threat of criminal sanctions can reduce the incident rate of hazing. The FSPAC does not support efforts to make hazing a federal policy issue or to deny federal student aid to a student adjudicating guilt of any form of hazing in a campus judicial proceeding. Historically, loss of federal financial aid has been limited to a few select crimes against the federal government and hazing doesn’t fit that list. More importantly, we think a range of negative consequences stem from any decision to tie loss of federal financial aid to the outcome of campus judicial proceedings which often don’t provide students with the same rights they have in a criminal proceeding in court. Over the past few months, the PAC’s leadership team has worked in conjunction with the NIC and NPC to address potential federal legislation that we think would have been harmful to the broader goal of stopping hazing. For the moment, we believe that effort has been successful and federal hazing legislation, if introduced this year, will not become law. Meanwhile, we will continue our efforts at the state level to make hazing a crime in all 50 states and to ensure that states enforce the hazing laws already on the books.”

    In the most recent FSPAC newsletter, published in spring of 2013, the FSPAC board of directors listed its organizational goals for the 2013-14 time period. The #3 goal for the organization was “Educating Congress about our efforts to fight hazing on campus.” Later in the same newsletter, hazing prevention was listed as a key element of the FSPAC goals related to student safety and success.

    If you visit the FGRC website, there is a page on hazing. Finally, leaders of NIC and NPC member organizations have been briefed on the state of hazing legislation, including April 2012 and April 2013 for all organizations (the AFA has had leaders at these briefings as well). There have been several FGRC memos sent to national NIC/NPC leaders over the last two years detailing the Coalition’s work to date on hazing legislation. In fact, these memos are cited directly in the Bloomberg article that is the source for many of the assertions upon which your blog post is based.

    You should immediately correct your blog post to remove your assertion that the FGRC and its member organizations have not made much effort to communicate their collective position on hazing legislation. I am also requesting an immediate retraction and apology for the assertion that FSPAC donors were misled about the organization’s work.

  10. Continued from a previous post.

    Now let’s move on to some of your substantive ideas:

    Increasing the Clery Act Disclosure Requirements to include Hazing Statistics – Missing from your suggestion is any obvious public benefit to these disclosures weighed against their cost to the institutions themselves. Every mandatory disclosure is an unfunded mandate that raises costs for college students as schools divert classroom resources to bureaucratic exercises to comply. There is no direct linkage to preventing hazing as a result of federal reporting.

    To implement the Clery Act suggestion, Congress would have to agree on a federal definition of hazing. Our representatives have spoken to many Members of Congress about hazing and there’s no agreement on such a definition.

    You suggest that Clery reporting would include the disclosure of organizations that hazed and that this would be a significant deterrent, perhaps in combination with proposed legislation to remove federal financial aid for those sanctioned for hazing. How? On the contrary, there are examples of state reporting and publication requirements that do not appear to have had any measurable effect on the membership of organizations responsible for hazing. The resources directed toward hazing reporting efforts would be better directed to education.

    The Right to Confront Your Accuser – I am stunned by your proposal to allow the campus conduct system to adjudicate hazing allegations “without the participation of victims” which you claim will provide a “timely, fair and equitable outcome.” A student’s right to due process should not disappear when you set foot on campus and legislative proposals on that front are dead on arrival in Washington.

    Criminal Convictions for Hazing – Please read the statements the FGRC has put out to date. They support criminal proceedings anytime a student harms another student. Incarcerated individuals don’t generally get federal financial aid, acquitted students would be back in school, so the only population of students potentially affected by your key proposal would be those convicted of a crime and sentenced to something less than incarceration (probation, suspended sentence, community service, etc.).

    The “Dear Colleague” Letter – You assert that “the federal government has demonstrated its ability to bring about behavioral change on college campuses” through the “Dear Colleague” letter guidelines. What evidence do you have that behavioral change has occurred? I have followed the conversation about these guidelines closely as a professional and as father to a female teen who will soon be on a college campus. Yes, more institutions are being investigated in their handling of sexual misconduct matters but the federal government is also being criticized by higher education professionals for what many consider to be over-reaching and, as a result, students who have not been offered due process are now suing colleges and universities. Federal investigations prompted by questionable guidelines do not serve as evidence that behavioral change is occurring on campuses.

    Where is there evidence of behavioral change? I recommend to you an article in Inside Higher Education (July 8, 2013) in which a psychology professor at Loyola University credits the educational programs offered by fraternities as bringing about lower rates of hyper-masculinity and hostile attitudes toward women for fraternity men as compared to non-fraternity men. These results are soon-to-be be published in a scholarly journal from your profession, the Journal of College Student Development.

    Education, not legislation, is the only method that has proven effective in changing this behavior.

  11. Continued and concluded from my previous post.

    Gentry, I have known you for many years and I have watched you grow in the field from a new professional to a PhD. I have watched from the sidelines as you have increasingly posted bold assertions that are not necessarily accurate and are, at times, reckless. I have taken your behavior as that of a new professional who seeks to establish a voice for himself. But, Gentry, you are no longer a new professional. I truly want to see you continue to rise in your profession. So, while I know this reply to your blog may be viewed as a harsh, I know of no other way to make the important point to you and to your readers that the information you are posting, as someone who promotes himself as a professional who speaks and writes on hazing and risk management is, at best, misleading and frequently inaccurate. While my regard for you remains, I am compelled to respond when you publicly release faulty information. I wish you well in your profession, but if your goal is to make a name for yourself through sensationalism rather than by fact checking then I fear your growth in your profession will be limited. I urge you as a friend to consider partnership and education, as opposed to inaccuracies which can lead to divisiveness.

    1. Larry - thank you for your thoughtful reply. Instead of responding in this thread, I have created a new post to address your questions/concerns:


      I hope we can discuss our differences by phone at your earliest convenience.


  12. I was notified of your blog post by others, Gentry, rather than you which might have provided an opportunity for you to at least have accuracy in your accusations. With that said, I am indebted to Larry Wiese for ensuring that the record is set straight about my personal involvement with FSPAC. His post is an example of why I am proud to be a member of a Greek organization and proud to call him my brother even if he is in a different organization. While I am humbled by some of the things he said about me, I am so grateful to him for providing the facts with regard to my association with FSPAC. I believe support of a PAC is a personal decision made on a variety of factors. For me it has been the FSPAC's support of the Collegiate Housing and Infrastructure Act. Supporting an organization such as HPO is also a personal decision--which I have done since its inception 5 years ago because I passionately believe that its efforts to bring groups together through education and programming is key to hazing prevention. Those groups include athletic organizations, honor societies, bands, and clubs--all with aspects of hazing--in addition to fraternities and sororities. Others such as you have endorsed that strategy and now chosen other positions--which is your right. But it is also the right of other individuals to express their support initiatives that the FSPAC may support through involvement with it--without being denigrated through a public forum such as this. I respect your opinion on the federal legislation, Gentry, even if I have a different one. HPO has chosen not to take a position to date but it doesn't mean that it won't. It has chosen and will continue to choose to put a great deal of faith in empowering members of organizations to prevent hazing through its work.

    1. Joe - as I indicate in my post responding to Larry, I apologize for my error. I am in no way implying that you have done anything unethical. I do feel that your involvement and relationship with FGRC/FSPAC was a driving force in the decision not to publish the article in the HPO newsletter.

      I did attempt to reach out to you last week via email when I responded to Charles. I regret that I received no response from you. I hope that we can speak soon to clear up any lingering misunderstanding.


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