ACU takes pro-active steps to prevent any form of
For Immediate Release
September 16, 1999
Abilene Christian University students and officials are
taking pro-active steps to ensure standards concerning state
hazing laws are exceeded.
Texas law defines hazing as intentionally, knowingly or
recklessly endangering the mental or physical health or
safety of a student in connection with that student's
participation or membership in a social, service or similar
club, group or organization.
After meeting with student social club members during the
past two weeks for input, opinion and dialogue, ACU
officials distributed a statement and policy on hazing last
night as the groups prepared for their annual initiation
night for new members called Bid Night.
Bid Night activities start at 5 p.m. on campus Friday
and, in many cases, continue all night. The student
organizations can take activities off campus as well, but
whether on or off campus, a social club or faculty adviser
always supervises activities. Bid Night activities
typically attract a large number of alumni spectators, even
drawing 100 to 200 alumni from out of town.
"Hazing laws are continually being tested across the
state, but we are taking pro-active steps at ACU to go
beyond compliance to what is exceedingly Christian," said
Brent McCall, director of student organizations.
The trend at ACU this year, which McCall said is setting
a precedent for future years, is to do away with any
activities that do not honor the integrity of a person.
Such acts that are not appropriate include public ridicule,
any type of personal servitude, excessive sleep deprivation,
any acts that cause excessive fatigue or any physical abuse,
including forcing prospective members to eat or drink any
"Students are leading this change," McCall said. "That
makes me feel good. Leadership is not about being popular,
it's about being courageous. Our students are taking some
courageous steps and saying 'we're going to be
Maria Schwenker, president of GATA women's social club,
said, "We look at this as an opportunity to take another
step with ACU social clubs. We want to have fun and develop
close friendships through our club, and we know we can do
that without being abusive."
While current students are taking a different approach to
club initiations this year, McCall said alumni who return
for Bid Night sometimes create the opportunity to
re-introduce old concepts.
"Initiation methods for student organizations have
covered a broad spectrum throughout ACU's near-100-year
history," he said. "What was allowed in 1949 or 1979 may
not be appropriate for 1999. Liabilities today are
different, and perceptions are different."
Cases in Texas have been documented at other universities
where lawsuits resulted from such actions as an egg being
dropped on a student's head, a common initiation component
for university organizations across the state.
Criteria established in ACU's statement and policy on
hazing focuses on Christian standards of conduct, far
exceeding minimum expectations for compliance with the
"We have discussed and the students have agreed that no
initiation activities will occur that current members of the
group are not willing to participate in or be a part of
themselves," McCall said.
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- Last update: Sept. 16, 1999
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