The film, “We Don’t Haze,” was directed and produced by Jack Lucido, associate professor of Communication Arts at Western, in collaboration with the Clery Center for Safety on Campus.
View the trailer for "We Don't Haze."
Abby Boyer, associate executive director of programs for the Clery Center, said the idea for an anti-hazing film was presented by two of the Clery Center’s board members, Julie and Gary DeVercelly whose son, Gary Jr., was killed in a hazing incident.
Gary and Julie DeVercelly said they were excited at the news that the film has received recognition from BEA.
“We knew ‘We Don’t Haze’ was very powerful,” Julie said.
“However, we were also very personally tied to the film," Gary added. "Knowing that the BEA thinks so highly of it gives our film more credibility and influence in the campus environment.
“Gary Jr.’s death is the tragedy of our lives," Gary continued.
"He didn’t have to die,” said Julie. “If ‘We Don’t Haze’ can start a chain reaction of turning the culture of hazing, then he didn’t die in vain.”
Boyer said the goals for “We Don’t Haze” was to create a film that was research-based as well as engaging that can be shown to college faculty and students to create awareness around the issue. The film also addresses the spectrum of hazing, which is a problem that reaches far beyond alcohol-infused frat parties or athletic initiations, and encourages students to act when they see hazing activities taking place.
Lucido partnered with the Clery Center previously when he received a grant to foster a student-produced film that examined the topic of sexual assault and consent on college campuses. The result of that partnership was two films produced by Lucido's students at Western, which can be viewed here.
Boyer said that when this latest project came around, Lucido was a natural fit for the project. Lucido brought in Western film student Abi Montgomery and Melissa Myser, Western’s technical director of media, to assist with production.
In August 2014, the Clery Center hosted a retreat to establish the story and goals for the film. In attendance were the DeVercellys, Lucido, Boyer and Elizabeth Allan, a leading researcher on hazing on college campuses and professor of higher education for the University of Maine.
“We all got together and brainstormed and talked and laughed and cried,” said Lucido. “It was challenging, but we came up with a budget … and carefully began to develop a report with the other subjects.”
Through the resources of the Clery Center and the DeVercellys’ connections to other families of hazing violence, the film developed.
“We reached out to a number of different people who were hazed themselves or who had family members who were hazed,” said Boyer. “Our initial outreach was based on how can we capture a wide range of experiences and perspectives and stay in line with the goals of the film.”
Though the film is a powerful resource, Boyer added that it’s not meant to be a stand-alone lesson on hazing. The Clery Center has also developed additional materials, such as activity and discussion guides, to be used in conjunction with the film.
“There is so much that needs to be done when it comes to hazing. Our hope is that after viewers see ‘We Don't Haze’ they walk away with a clear definition of hazing, can recognize hazing, are able to stand up to hazing, and come up with healthier positive team building activities that create unity and group bonding,” said Julie DeVercelly. “We hope that through our film, students will be equipped with the tools they need to change the culture of hazing.”
“We Don’t Haze,” along with accompanying resources, can be downloaded for free from the Clery Center here. The film will be recognized at the BEA 2016 convention and awards ceremony on April 17-20 in Las Vegas.
Written by Laura Anderson, University Communications. Photos provided by Jack Lucido.