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Old Dominion University will put hazing on trial to communicate its seriousness and the university's strong stance against this behavior at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 11 in the North Cafeteria of Webb Center.

Any activity that produces mental or physical discomfort, embarrassment, harassment or ridicule is considered hazing. Although it is most often associated with fraternities, all student organizations are susceptible to this destructive behavior. In addition to causing mental, physical and emotional pain, those who engage in hazing activities may face criminal and civil penalties.

With the help of attorneys David Westol and Old Dominion alumnus Carlton Bennett, students will participate in a mock trial as if a student organization and its individual leaders have been charged with hazing. Students will take on roles as witnesses, jurors and judge. Students from ODU's fraternities and sororities, student organizations and athletic teams will participate. Greek organizations from Norfolk State University, the College of William and Mary and Virginia Wesleyan College have also been invited to attend.

The event is sponsored by ODU's Office of Student Activities and Leadership, Interfraternity Council, the National Panhellenic Council and the Panhellenic Council.

Westol has conducted mock trials on more than 300 campuses and at more than 100 national fraternity and sorority conventions and leadership schools since 1981. The executive director of Theta Chi Fraternity since 1988, he worked previously as the assistant prosecuting attorney for Kalamazoo County, Mich.

Bennett received his bachelor's degree in history from ODU and is currently a partner at Bennett and Zydron, P.C., in Virginia Beach. He is a past international president of Theta Chi Fraternity and currently serves on the Theta Chi national advisory committee.

Westol and Bennett will discuss the possible ramifications if hazing charges are made, including jail time and fines, suspension and removal, and financial settlements for individuals and student and national organizations. The pair will also explain the differences between civil and criminal trials.

For more information call 683-3446.

This article was posted on: February 2, 2004

Old Dominion University
Office of University Relations

Room 100 Koch Hall Norfolk, Virginia 23529-0018
Telephone: 757-683-3114

Old Dominion University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution.