WSU implements new online hazing prevention training

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Thousands of students across the Washington State University system are taking a new online hazing prevention training this fall.

The training module is being added to the tools available for hazing prevention community education and provides students with a more flexible, interactive platform that is conducive to additional in-person follow-up education. The WSU-produced video on hazing prevention is still available online and through Precipio for faculty and staff. 

According to Bekah MillerMacPhee, assistant director of Health Education, students can complete the training at their own pace – it takes students less than an hour – and they come away from the training with access to direct information on what hazing is, steps to prevent hazing, and how to get help if they suspect hazing might be occurring.

“The training module is customized to meet the needs of our students and includes WSU-specific resources,” said MillerMacPhee. “It’s also easy for them to access and navigate.”

Strengthening hazing prevention tools

The new module is part of a hazing prevention training program WSU began requiring for all new undergraduate and graduate students, as well as new and current faculty and staff, in the fall of 2022.

The requirement was driven by Sam’s Law, legislation first adopted by the Washington State Legislature in 2022 and signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee in March 2023. Sam’s Law requires all public colleges and universities in Washington to establish a hazing prevention committee and increase transparency about hazing education and intervention.

President Kirk Schulz appointed WSU’s Hazing Prevention Advisory Committee last fall, and one of the group’s first goals was to strengthen and expand the university’s tools for hazing prevention education. After researching multiple hazing educational platforms last spring, Health Education and stakeholders in Student Affairs decided to contract with 3rd Millennium, which provides online training modules.

Karen Metzner, associate dean of students and director for the Center for Community Standards, said committee members were attracted to 3rd Millennium’s experience and expertise in developing training modules that specialize in health education, as well as the module’s ability to track training completion rates.

As with most training, Metzner said one singular training program is unlikely to dramatically change student behavior, however, the 3rd Millennium module gives students foundational information that can be expanded on throughout the year by Metzner’s and MillerMacPhee’s teams.

“While students are very comfortable accessing baseline information online, the new module gives our Health Education team space to engage our students in small groups and have additional human interaction and meaningful discussions as the academic year goes on,” MillerMacPhee said.

As a follow-up to mandatory training focused on substance use and violence prevention, many groups such as student athletes, the Cougar Marching Band, the Greek community, and registered student organizations request additional (optional) training from the Health Education team. MillerMacPhee said the team is ready and willing to conduct similar training around hazing prevention. 

Additional hazing prevention intervention strategies will be led by a new assistant director for compliance and investigations in the Center for Community Standards, a position funded by Sam’s Law.

Hazing Prevention Week

WSU has several activities planned in recognition of Cougar Hazing Prevention Week, which runs Sept. 11-15. Among them is a presentation by Leo Serrato, a national trainer who will discuss the risks associated hazing with members of WSU’s Greek community. The entire WSU Pullman community is invited to visit the tables to learn more about hazing and sign the WSU Hazing Prevention pledge. Tables will be set-up inside the CUB and on Terrell Mall, Sept. 13, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. 

“There is a lot of confusion about what hazing is and a lot of people don’t recognize it,” said MillerMacPhee. “We want to let people know there are people on campus to talk with if they or others find themselves in a situation where hazing might occur.”

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