Julia Nagel/Sun Photography Editor

Students walk past anti-hazing signs on the arts quad.

September 21, 2022

National Hazing Prevention Week Kicks-Off at Cornell

Print More

Hazing is a national issue that has plagued many college campuses, including Cornell. To grapple with the realities of hazing, Monday kicked off National Hazing Prevention Week, an opportunity for universities, specifically Greek Life communities, to come together to stand up against hazing. 

This year, Cornell hosted Michelle Guobadia, director of Fraternity and Sorority Life at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, to share her experiences with hazing and educate others on the dangerous effects of hazing in Greek Life, sports teams and other organizations. 

Guobadia, a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. at the University of Delaware, explained how, during her time as an undergraduate at the University of Delaware, she had not only experienced hazing during her pledging period, but she also became a perpetrator.

“No one joined my chapter for two years because people were literally afraid of my organization,” Guobadia said. “By day, we are the model students, by nights and weekends, we do things we wouldn’t show our parents or peers from home.” 

Guobadia also discussed ten myths about hazing, aiming to disprove common misconceptions many in the Greek community have regarding hazing. 

“Hazing doesn’t eliminate the bad apples, it actually keeps the bad apples in,” Guobadia said. “When you pit one class against another, you aren’t unifying them, but you’re creating cliques and cracks in your organization.” 

Kappa Alpha Theta President Euna Carpenter ’23, is using Hazing Prevention Week to not only educate her members, but as a way to reflect on their recruitment process and new member policies. 

“Our chapter prides itself on core values of supporting and empowering each other, intellectual curiosity and growth, and pushing each other to become the best people we can be,” Carpenter said. “This week, we are having conversations around what Theta means to each of us individually and how we want to make others in our chapter and community feel.” 

This year’s National Hazing Prevention Week at Cornell was in honor of Antonio Tsialas, who died during an unofficial rush event for Phi Kappa Psi in 2019. Tsialas was found at the bottom of Fall Creek Gorge with a fractured skull, broken ribs and an alarmingly high blood-alcohol level. 

Only a freshman when he passed away, his death shook the Cornell community. In October 2020, Phi Kappa Psi was banned from Cornell’s campus, however, there were no criminal charges filed. 

Delta Delta Delta President Maddie Sand ’23, believes that National Hazing Prevention Week is a powerful reaction to the losses experienced in the Greek communities nationally, and with Tsialas at Cornell. 

“Each fall I am forced to grapple with the reality that hazing in the Cornell community killed Antonio Tsialas. This loss is profound and should call Greeks to enact change in our member intake and recruitment processes,” Sand said. “Hazing is never okay. I want women to feel welcomed at Tri Delta from the moment they step in on Bid Day.” 

At the end of her talk, Guobadia aimed to shock Cornell students by explaining the legal implications of hazing. 

“Someone has died from hazing every year for 50 years except for 2020, during the global pandemic,” Guobadia said. “97 million dollars is the largest asking price on record for a hazing lawsuit. No one rises to low standards. If you want them to appreciate your organization, then treat your organization like it should be appreciated.”