AUSTIN -- On Friday thousands of students at the University of Texas will graduate in Austin, but something else is happening on campus to try and save student's lives. On Thursday the university launched a new effort to cut down on student drinking and hazing.
In 2011 UT Fraternity Kappa Alpha Order was suspended after accusations of live sex acts and hazing in the fraternity house. Also in 2011, 12 Florida A&M band members were charged with manslaughter after the hazing death of 26-year-old drum major Robert Champion.
In 2013, 13 members of Texas State University's drum line were charged with hazing for giving underage students alcohol during an initiation.
It is these extreme cases of hazing that prompted University of Texas officials to launch a task force to cut down on hazing and dangerous binge drinking.
"Frankly, they were concerned for student's safety and wanted to know if the UT system is doing everything it could do to protect its students,” said UT’s Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Wanda Mercer.
A survey of 53 college campuses across the nation found that more than half of all students involved in clubs, teams, or organizations had engaged in behavior meant to humiliate, degrade, abuse or endanger themselves.
"In almost every case, it's when a student is trying to become a member of a group,” said Mercer.
The task force found it’s not only fraternities and bands that are guilty of this so called initiation rite.
“ROTC, athletics and honor societies [as well]” said Mercer.
With this knowledge, University of Texas system officials will try to change student’s perspective, so they will no longer feel like hazing is just part of the initiation rite to be accepted into the group.
This new initiative also requires colleges including UT to adopt a zero tolerance policy regarding hazing that could mean legal action and or suspension.