Rider University Honors DeVercelly Family: Champions of Anti-Hazing Advocacy

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Tragic Beginning: The Loss of Gary Jr.

Julie and Gary DeVercellys’ arduous journey as anti-hazing advocates began with the devastating loss of their oldest son, Gary Jr., a promising student at Rider University, who tragically fell victim to a hazing ritual within a fraternity in 2007. The heart-wrenching incident not only robbed the DeVercelly family of their beloved son but also served as a catalyst for their tireless efforts to raise awareness about the perils of hazing.

The DeVercellys’ Dedication to Hazing Prevention Advocacy

Since the loss of Gary Jr., the DeVercellys have wholeheartedly committed themselves to preventing similar tragedies from befalling other families. Their advocacy work has involved educating college students, parents, and institutions about the dangers of hazing and working to implement effective preventive measures.

The Presentation of the Sesquicentennial Medal of Honor

In recognition of their outstanding endeavors, Rider University presented the DeVercellys with the Sesquicentennial Medal of Honor. This prestigious award celebrates individuals within the Rider community who have made significant contributions to enhancing the campus experience for students, alumni, and the broader community. University President Gregory G. Dell’Omo had the honor of bestowing this well-deserved recognition upon the DeVercelly family.

National Impact: Transforming Legislation and Promoting Education

The DeVercellys’ advocacy efforts have extended far beyond the confines of Rider University. Their relentless pursuit of change has resulted in the transformation of anti-hazing legislation and the promotion of comprehensive hazing education and prevention initiatives nationwide. Notably, they played a pivotal role in turning the Report and Educate About Campus Hazing (REACH) bill into the Stop Campus Hazing Act. This legislation aims to strengthen hazing reporting, implement educational programs, and provide families with crucial information about joining on-campus organizations.

The Clery Center Board of Directors: A Commitment to Campus Safety

Complementing their legislative efforts, the DeVercellys actively serve on The Clery Center Board of Directors. The Clery Center is an organization devoted to assisting higher education institutions in implementing robust campus safety measures. Through their involvement, the DeVercellys continue to advocate for safer and more secure campus environments.

Powerful Visual Storytelling: “We Don’t Haze” and “Protect the House”

Recognizing the power of visual media, the DeVercellys produced the award-winning documentary “We Don’t Haze” in 2015. This thought-provoking film sheds light on the tragic consequences of hazing and emphasizes the urgent need for change. Currently, the DeVercellys are collaborating with acclaimed director Daniel Catullo on “Protect the House,” a compelling six-part series that further highlights the impact of fraternity hazing on affected families.

A Legacy of Advocacy

Gary and Julie DeVercelly have channeled their immeasurable pain into unwavering advocacy, working tirelessly to prevent hazing and protect students across the nation. Their work has had a profound impact on college campuses, prompting legislative changes, fostering educational initiatives, and offering support to affected families. As Rider University honors the DeVercelly family, their legacy of advocacy will continue to inspire change and ensure the safety and well-being of students in the years to come.

If you or your child has been the victim of fraternity hazing, you need to know that you are not alone. The legal team at The Fierberg National Law Group has been representing victims, such as The Devercellys, throughout the United States for over 30 years.

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