During the fall semester at UC Berkeley’s third annual Hazing Prevention Week, nearly 500 students gathered for a screening of Goat, a film starring Nick Jonas and James Franco that depicts hazing rituals in a fraternity. The film is based on a memoir by Brad Land, which chronicles his experiences at Clemson University in South Carolina. After the screening, students engaged in an open, honest discussion of the controversial initiation rites depicted in the film and how to prevent hazing in real-world scenarios.
The conversation was hosted by CAMPUSPEAK, an organization that organizes workshops and speaking events at universities to educate and inspire college students. A professional expert on hazing and representatives from HazingPrevention.org were also there to take questions from students and offer advice. UC Berkeley was one of only five campuses in the nation to host a free premier of the film and offer conversation about its themes.
“For me, joining the Greek community was my way of finding a family and a home here,” senior cognitive science major and Panhellenic Council President Divya Thomas said after the screening. “Thinking of an organization where we call ourselves sisters or brothers, it makes me sick to think people would be willing to hurt each other to call each other family… That’s not what family should mean.”
Throughout the years, the Berkeley administration has had a no-tolerance policy for hazing. Raising awareness about the issue and ensuring students are equipped with proper support and resources for dealing with any situation that causes them emotional, physical, or psychological distress is critical, and Berkeley is committed to creating and preserving a culture that makes students feel safe and included.
For additional support and resources for a hazing issue, students and families can call the 24-hr hotline: 1-800-NOT-HAZE. (1-800-668-4293).