COLUMBIA, Mo (KMIZ)
A new video designed to prevent hazing at the University of Missouri has been released by the Missouri Greek Alliance.
The organization is made up of alumni from various different fraternity houses across campus. According to their press release they work with the University administration to develop policies that benefit Fraternities and their members.
Robert Selsor, the President of the Mizzou Greek Alliance and former Beta Theta Pi, said he and the several dozen other fathers and grandfathers who are a part of the Mizzou Greek Alliance had experienced hazing in their youth. He believes this gave them a good perspective to educate incoming freshmen.
“We simply didn’t think that much of the training that was going on nationally was sufficient,” he said.
The 26-minute video is titled "Arm Yourself to Say No." Selsor admits that the video is difficult to watch because it shows the harsh consequences for those who are harmed by hazing and those who initiate it.
“It’s designed to change behavior. We have felt that some of the speakers who have gone around the country talking about this stuff sort of dance around the critical issues involved with hazing. So this is our attempt to address it more directly,” Selsor said.
The video comes two years after University of Missouri freshman Danny Santulli was left disabled following an alleged hazing incident at Phi Gamma Delta in 2021. Santulli was left unable to walk, talk or see after suffering a traumatic brain injury that night. Several fraternity members have been charged, with many taking plea deals.
The Sanutlli family was heavily involved in the making of the video.
“We have been in almost constant contact with them for over the last year,” Selsor said. “They reviewed the video, they reviewed a draft of the video and approved it. We actually have a bill in the Missouri General Assembly that we’ve dubbed Danny’s Law to further encourage people to act when they see hazing taking place.”
Danny’s Law is patterned after “Andrew's Law” which was passed in Florida in 2019. Andrew’s Law is named after Andrew Coffey who died in a hazing incident that led to nine members of Pi Kappa Phi fraternity getting charged with misdemeanor or felony hazing. Andrew’s Law provides immunity for the first person to call 911 or administer aid to a hazing victim.
The video was distributed to the Mizzou Greek Alliance’s 16 member fraternities for presentation to their incoming pledge classes, as well as to officers, actives, and alumni volunteers. The 16 fraternities in the Mizzou Greek alliance include Alpha Gamma Rho, Alpha Gamma Sigma, Alpha Tau Omega, Beta Sigma Psi, Beta Theta Phi, Delta Sigma PI, Delta Tau Delta, Delta Upsilon, Farmhouse, Kappa Alpha Order, Phi Delta Theta, Phi Kappa Psi, Sigma Chi, Sigma Nu, Sigma PI and Zeta Beta Tau.
However, Selsor believes the video can help other groups on campus as well.
“The University is considering using it for training as well and we are hopeful Greek organizations on campus will watch as well as sports teams. Sports teams actually have a higher rate of hazing even Greek houses,” Selsor told ABC 17 News.
The University of Missouri already has a hazing prevention program called Prevent Zone that is offered by the Office of Student Affairs, according to the university's website.
According to national statistics from hazing prevention.org more than half of college students are involved in some form of hazing. In 95% of hazing cases, students who were aware they were hazed did not report it and 82% percent of deaths from hazing involve alcohol.
However, there have been no hazing deaths in the United States over the last two years. Selsor believes the publicity hazing has gotten has contributed to turning the tide.
“The bottom line is there are over six thousand fraternity chapters in America. Most of them won’t do this to you. Most of them are very positive for their members. But obviously, we know from first-hand experience that a small number will do this and on the worst day the outcome can be disastrous,” Selsor said.