Today, Congresswoman Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.) introduced the framework for her anti-hazing legislation at a press conference at the National Press Club with Jonathan Mason, international first vice-president of Phi Beta Sigma, a video greeting from the Rev. Al Sharpton (founder of the National Action Network and a Sigma brother), members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and Dan Robbins, a rising senior at Cornell University.
"Hazing is dangerous, and hazing is deadly," said Congresswoman Wilson. "Hazing is not a university problem. It is not a Greek problem. It is not a student problem. It is an American problem."
According to research performed by Franklin College professor Hank Nuwer, there has been at least one hazing-related death on a college campus every year since 1970, and hazing deaths in the U.S. date back as far as 1838.
According to "Hazing in View: College Students at Risk," authored by professors Elizabeth J. Allan and Mary Madden of the University of Maine, more than half of all college students involved in clubs, teams, and organizations experience hazing.
"No mother sends their child to college to be killed in an act of hazing," Congresswoman Wilson said. "College is where we send our children to shape society's next generation of leaders."
Under the anti-hazing bill that Congresswoman Wilson plans to introduce, students convicted of a hazing crime under state law or who are officially sanctioned by an institution of higher education would lose their eligibility for student financial aid.
The bill would establish an "Advisory Committee on Hazing Prevention and Elimination," to be housed within the U.S. Department of Justice.
Additionally, states that do not currently have, or fail to enact, a felony criminal hazing statute will have their federal transportation funds restricted.
Congresswoman Wilson has been continuously holding meetings with university presidents and Greek letter organizations for the past several months to gather their input, and she will continue to work with them moving forward.
When Congresswoman Wilson was the South Atlantic Regional Director for Alpha Kappa Alpha, she earned the nickname "The Haze-Buster" for her efforts to end hazing in her sorority.
The press conference was to announce a coordinated campaign to raise public awareness of the dangers of hazing.