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UMaine professor crafts framework to prevent hazing across nation

University of Maine professor Elizabeth Allan researches campus cultures and climates. That research has led to a framework to prevent hazing.

ORONO (NEWS CENTER Maine) -- Harassing or ridiculing someone, particularly in a group setting, is called hazing. This practice plagues campuses nationwide.

It's not just fraternities and sororities, but teams, groups and organizations.

It is very complex, it's human behavior. Not to necessarily abuse others but to want to belong to a club or organization or team." said Dr. Elizabeth Allan, professor of higher education at the University of Maine.

Dr. Allan has been researching and collecting data on hazing for about 10 years and has recently published a framework for campuses across the country to use.

Dr. Lauri Sidelko worked with Allan on the prevention framework research. Their research shows hazing can have nothing to do with alcohol.

"Completing a task, or cleaning someone's house or yelling at someone or being verbally abusive," Dr. Sidelko said.

UMaine has a zero-tolerance policy regarding hazing and students on campus say that although they weren't hazed, they know what it entails.

"It really boils down to are you making somebody uncomfortable," said Stephanie Poirier, who is a member of the Delta Delta Delta sorority. "Are you putting somebody in a situation they don't want to be in?"

"It's really something that's ubiquitous across the University of Maine is just trying to make sure that we're really aware of, um, and do our best to prevent, practices like hazing," said Jacob Spaulding of Epsilon Sigma Phi.

In Orono, clubs, teams and organizations use other bonding activities to welcome new members. Like learning the history and tradition of the organization.

Allan is part of an anti-hazing documentary that's available for free online. If you want to watch or share it with your group or team you can go to stophazing.org to view the trailer or download the complete film.