Anti-Hazing Program Is Provided
A Mother’s Crusade: No one else’s child dies of hazing
Last Wednesday night, Presbyterian College was privileged to host a lecture on the dangers of hazing.
The Sept. 26 lecture was given by Mrs. Cindy Hipps, who is the mother of the late Tucker Hipps, a young man who died while pledging the Beta Chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon on September 22, 2014.
Tucker was a Christian, and he shared his faith with many, his mom said. He was a proud mamma’s boy, and he loved both parents passionately. He was athletic and played many sports, and he was a counselor at Palmetto Boys State. At 5:30 a.m. of that fateful morning, Tucker participated in a run with his pledge brothers and several other fraternity members that included a stretch across a bridge above Lake Hartwell. Tucker was a 19-year-old Clemson University sophomore, and he is missed by many.
A large crowd of Presbyterian College students gathered in Edmunds auditorium to hear Mrs. Hipps speak about her son’s story and the dangers of hazing.
Many who attended the lecture were student-athletes and fraternity members, but other groups were well-represented as well including musical groups, religious groups and several faculty members. Mrs. Hipps gave a powerful presentation including staggering statistics. She spoke calmly, but passionately.
She has a soft voice, but her message was well heard: Do Not Haze. Many in attendance were moved to tears as they heard a mother speak from the heart about the son she loved, the grief with which she continues to struggle, and the call she feels to teach others about the dangers of hazing.
After Tucker’s death, the Tucker W. Hipps memorial foundation was established in his honor. According to the foundation’s website: “With a mission of “helping people help others”, the Tucker W. Hipps Memorial Foundation plans to engage with other community organizations that help the needy and less fortunate by seeking to improve their lives.” To that end, the foundation has established scholarships in Tucker’s name for young men attending Boys State.
The foundation is also passionate about anti-hazing efforts. “Tucker died while on a fraternity run, and while the details surrounding his death are not quite known, it is known activities during, following and leading up to his death could have been avoided.”
As a part of the foundation’s anti-hazing campaign, legislation was proposed and passed on June 9, 2016. The Tucker Hipps Transparency Act mandates that institutions of higher learning keep a record of any fraternity or sorority misconduct. Not only does this act hold colleges and universities accountable for the actions of their Greek organizations, but it also enables prospective members and their parents to learn more about an organization before joining the group.
The Tucker Hipps Transparency Act has already had tremendous impact and has begun to change the way Hazing is viewed on college campuses throughout the Southeast. As a result South Carolina has become a pioneer on the issue, focusing the public eye on issues of hazing by fraternities, sororities and other student-groups.