CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, VA—Virginia State University has announced new anti-hazing initiatives that the university president says he hopes "will lead the effort to deter this abhorrent practice."
Virginia State University President Keith T. Miller says hazing is not just a problem for college campuses, but is a societal problem.
The university announced Tuesday it will take additional, proactive measures to strengthen current policies which prohibit hazing.
Miller announced the creation of a Task Force on Hazing, which would be comprised of students, faculty and staff, working to educate and train students.
An Online Student Organization Guide has also been created and explains the difference between sanctioned and unsanctioned organizations.
In April, two freshmen died in the Appomattox River during a hazing incident involving an off-campus organization.
Jauwan M. Holmes, 19, and Marvell Edmondson, 19, disappeared while crossing the cold, swift-moving river during a pledging ritual in late April.
Following the incident, four men were each charged with five counts of hazing; two of the suspects are students at the school.
In 1979, two VSU (then called Virginia State College) drowned in the Appomattox River while taking part in an initiation "going over" ritual, according to the book "Wrongs of Passage: Fraternities, Sororities, Hazing and Binge Drinking" by Hank Nuwer.
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