Student Activities to host Diadeloso after Chamber receives hazing penalties

Chamber of Commerce loses right to host Diadeloso because of hazing incidents. Lariat File Photo

By Luke Araujo | Staff Writer

Student Activities has named the Baylor Activities Council as the new host of Diadeloso after the Chamber of Commerce’s hosting privileges were revoked for the semester due to a hazing incident that occured in May.

The Chamber has hosted Diadeloso, an annual day off of school filled with student activities and entertainment, since 1935. Baylor’s Spring 2022 Hazing Report revealed the Chamber received eight sanctions for the offense, prohibiting them from hosting Diadeloso in the spring 2022 semester and hosting new member education until several prerequisites are met.

Dr. Matt Burchett, senior director of Student Activities, said the Baylor Activities Council, led by associate director of Campus Programs Jordy Dickey, will handle the planning of Diadeloso.

“We do not anticipate the Chamber having any involvement in Diadeloso this semester,” Burchett said.

The Chamber’s first reported hazing incident took place May 12, 2021, and was described in the report as the organization intentionally causing “mental stress through new member education activities through cursing, yelling, providing misleading information, threatening language and hosting events with hostile atmosphere.”

An anonymous former Chamber member detailed several alleged instances of hazing they saw in the Chamber of Commerce’s new member education.

“New members are forced to hang a banner in a tree without any instruction, while members are criticizing and pressuring them to fail,” the member said. “You are constantly in a hostile environment where the membership constantly makes you feel like you are worthless. They give you a ton of busy work assignments to complete every day, causing a lot of physical and emotional stress on top of school. They require you to undergo tedious tasks while they yell at you.”

Describing more hazing incidents, the former member said new member education also included being forced to stay awake for 24 hours while membership curses at them and makes them do exercises, like having to swim across the Brazos and roll around in the mud of the creek beside the Baylor Bear Habitat.

Because of hazing’s prevalence in universities, the government of Texas published Section 51.936 of the Texas Education Code, which mandates that any institution of higher education must send out a summary of hazing definitions, a summary of Chapter 37 of the Texas Education Code and information “regarding each disciplinary action taken by the institution against an organization for hazing.”

Baylor’s most recent hazing report brought awareness to the depth of hazing on campus, as there were two other reports of hazing in the 2021 school year.

Former Diadeloso chairman and former Chamber of Commerce member Jayla Hall was a member when the hazing occurred and said she thinks the organization did not pay enough attention to hazing within its ranks.

“From the outside looking in, we keep up this wall,” Hall said. “But I do think that looking back, a lot of the things that we have done have crossed those lines, and I think as an organization, we tend to turn a blind eye to it because it’s something all of us have had to go through. But I think looking back on it, there were some things that were not OK and crossed those lines, and it is sad that we feel like we should not speak up.”

Regarding the prohibition of the organization hosting new member education, Hall said the organization is working to keep the program afloat with unclear plans.

“It’s a back-and-forth between Student Activities and the Chamber and how we are going to move forward with so little members,” Hall said. “It’s up in the air. The things that need to get done are starting to get done as far as trainings and workshops, but an ultimate decision hasn’t come yet.”

As Diadeloso chairman, Hall said she was disappointed that Diadeloso involvement was prohibited despite it not relating to new member education.

Speaking on the organization’s future, Hall said she has hopes for the organization’s growth and improvement.

“I hope the best for them in the coming years,” Hall said. “I don’t want to see the Chamber disappear. I think they do a lot of important things, but I do know that the organization has a lot of growth to do, and I hope they take this time to grow. I hope they lean into that and become a better organization for the people that come after them.”