VSU students hope to change the culture of hazing

Posted at 6:17 PM, Apr 26, 2013

ETTRICK, Va (WTVR) -- Today a campus and a community by the hundreds were out to remember the two VSU students who lost their lives earlier this week during an alleged initiation to join a group.  But some students are now concerned without a cultural change when it comes to hazing, tragedy could strike again.

"Things have changed, it's much more dangerous now," VSU Sophomore Naaama Vanderpuije said.

This week the bodies of Marvell Edmondson and Jauwan Holmes were recovered from the Appomattox River.  It's believed they entered the water during an initiation for the group 'Men of Honor.'

VSU Reverend Delano Douglas told students it shouldn't have happened.

"I am positive that everyone of us here this afternoon is certain that April the 20, 2013 was much too early a time for the lives of two promising young men to come to an end," Rev. Douglas said.

While many students who spoke with CBS 6 agree the hazing culture needs to be reviewed, they didn't necessarily think it should be reversed.

"What is not acceptable is when people's lives are in danger," VSU Freshman Marcel Rozier said.  "You still have to do something to join a group."

But at least one student said until it's no longer considered a standard for joining a group, hazing will continue.

"People have to really consider that these are people's kids, you wouldn't want something like that to happen to your child," Vanderpuije said.

Police have charged James Mackey Sr., Eriq Benson, Cory Baytop and Charles Zollicoffer with hazing.  Three of the men have been arrested, while the search for Zollicoffer continues.