Risk management seminars held by Office of Greek Life

Courtney Laverdure
Contributing writer

A series of risk management seminars sponsored by the Office of Greek Life and student organizations were held in Lovett Auditorium on Wednesday Sept. 21.

These seminars were meant to be helpful to new members on campus to shed light on some issues they might find themselves faced with in their first year.

“The goal of these seminars was to bring awareness to campus about diversity, hazing, and alcohol, to provide that education to our students that could be helpful to all our organizations,” Coordinator of Greek Life and Student Organizations, Tara Hawthorne said.

Through the efforts of Don Robertson, vice president of Student Affairs, and Hawthorne, Murray State was able to secure Rick Barnes as the speaker of the evening, Hawthorne said.

“These seminars were intended to appeal not just to the Greek community,” Hawthorne said. This program was designed for all members of campus to benefit, she said.

Barnes said he was in higher education for years and a Greek advisor when he was approached about speaking on the topics of risk management and alcohol safety.

“I try to present it from a humorous perspective and make it entertaining, not like another lecture,” Barnes said.

The evening began with a general focus on risk management with advisors and student leaders. Barnes covered a general overview of civil and criminal law and the things to look out for when planning events.

He said he wanted people to assess the foreseeable liability and risk before pressing ahead. He gave examples of social events gone bad and who the responsibility fell upon to clean up the aftermath.

The next seminar had a focus on hazing. He shared that hazing is now a legal term and a violation of law. The definition of hazing varies greatly from state to state, he said.

In the state of Texas it is now equally against the law to allow yourself to be hazed, he said.

He said the only purpose for a university is to give you an education. Now, many universities believe that anything that volleys that purpose is considered hazing, he said.

“If one of you is doing it, you all have a reputation for it,” he said. “Be the leaders you say you are.”

The best way to manage risk of any kind is to develop a positive new student program, he said. He suggested celebrating the new individuality, doing community service, having pride in the organization, and fostering complete organization unity.

“Rick Barnes is very engaging and he definitely cares about risk management issues involving hazing and alcohol,” Jacob McAbee, Senior, Calvert City, Ky., said following the lecture. “I enjoyed hearing him because he is a big deal in the Greek community.”

Barnes’ last talk of the night was a humorous take on the issues that arise with alcohol use on campus. He went beyond the rules and regulations to address the personal choice concerning alcohol use.

“This is a very important event, particularly because of bringing in Rick Barnes, because of his expertise, and it will pay great dividends to our system,” Robertson said. “Students respond well to his message.”

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