Penn State Whistleblower Urges Increased Prevention Education To End Campus Hazing and Sexual Assault Now
Philadelphia, PA (August 20, 2015) – James Vivenzio, the Penn State fraternity hazing victim turned whistleblower, today added an online petition to his www.endhazingnow.com website to urge colleges and universities to increase prevention education and strengthen sanctions to help stop the often life-threatening criminal behavior that for too long has been minimized or dismissed as harmless pranks by playful college students.
In the petition, also posted onto www.change.org and www.ipetitions.com, Mr. Vivenzio urges colleges and universities to do much more to “prevent and end what has become increasingly more violent and demeaning behavior in the name of good clean fun.” The petition, accompanied by a personal narrative about his own experiences as a hazing victim, urges schools to “commit meaningful annual resources for mandatory anti-hazing and anti-sexual violence training and awareness programs on campus. It also calls for the establishment of an “independent, truly confidential hotline so that incidents of hazing and sexual violence can be reported to university officials and law enforcement.”
The petition is launched as students are preparing for the start of a new school year and as National Hazing Prevention week approaches.
“We are excited and grateful for the support of James Vivenzio and his family in encouraging people to join the hazing prevention movement and share their story, through our These Hands Don’t Haze Mosaic project.” said Emily N. Pualwan, Executive Director of HazingPrevention.Org. “ Awareness of hazing’s dangers is always the first step in empowering people to stand up and make a change to end this dangerous and harmful practice.” Her organization sponsors the annual National Hazing Prevention Week, which starts September 21.
Mr. Vivenzio recalled in the petition posting that when he rushed Kappa Delta Rho fraternity at Penn State he and the others in his pledge class were “repeatedly assured there was a strict, zero tolerance no-hazing policy.” However, he added, “I learned the hard way, in a very painful way, physically and psychologically, that KDR did not live by the motto over the front door of the house, “Honor Above All.” He has characterized his physical and mental abuse as having occurred in a “house of horrors”.
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Note: In an earlier version, reference was made to the Clery Center for Security on Campus (www.clerycenter.org). That organization is in no way affiliated with End Hazing Now or its petition campaign.