Associated Press, Inside Higher Ed, other national news outlets feature UMaine hazing research in Northwestern coverage

University of Maine professor of higher education Elizabeth Allan was interviewed by the Associated Press for a story about the alleged hazing in the Northwestern University football program and the prevalence of hazing in team sports. “If you understand hazing as a form of an abuse of power, then you can see how in those environments or group situations where people are jockeying for power or trying to enforce some kind of hierarchies, hazing is an easy way to kind of make clear who’s got the power,” she said. The story cites the dissertation research of University of Maine alumni David Kerschner, who examined the factors that predict hazing in NCAA Division III athletics. Kerschner was an Allan advisee who earned his Ph.D. in 2021. USA Today, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and other news outlets picked up the AP story.

Allan was quoted in a story from Inside Higher Ed looking at whether the Northwestern scandal will lead to a broader reckoning over hazing on college and university campuses. “I would say we are closer to a tipping point than we have ever been,” Allan said. “I think certainly having the visibility of these cases is a huge factor in public awareness of the problem and getting the attention of very busy administrators and legislators.”

Allan was also a guest on a recent episode of Wisconsin Public Radio’s daily talk show “Central Time”, discussing hazing and hazing prevention.

The Hill interviewed Allan for a story on why hazing is so hard to prevent. “Hazing is specific to that group context where someone is seeking inclusion or a sense of belonging in a club, team or organization. They’re a newcomer typically coming into this group situation, and because of that group dynamic there can be an incredible amount of peer pressure and sometimes a coercive environment. And so that can impede or be a barrier to recognizing and or reporting hazing because there can be a lot of fear,” she said. The Hill noted that Allan and colleagues have developed a “Hazing Prevention Framework” that colleges and other organizations can implement. “They can use it to also do some strategic planning and set some goals for the improvements they want to make, and all this is really… based on a public health approach to organizational change and promoting healthy behaviors in a community setting,” Allan said. WGN shared The Hill report.

Allan talked to Axios for an article about the Northwestern allegations. Some survivors of hazing might blame themselves or feel shame around their experiences, Allan said. “They often even mistakenly think that everyone is going along with it, that everyone is in support of it, when they’re not,” she added. Allan told Axios she recommends more education about hazing to help people understand the scope of behaviors and practices that it entails. “We’re still in the early stages of really shifting the culture around hazing,” she said.