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Hazing Prevention

Recognizing Hazing

Students sometimes have difficulty understanding hazing, lacking the information to understand what actions create harmful situations and lead to negative group dynamics. Being able to identify hazing is an important step in eliminating it. The Communal Principles of the College provide an excellent lens for examining the validity of new member education practices.

Hazing activities fall into three major categories:

Remember that hazing at any level has the capacity to inflict mental and physical harm on its target.

Power Differential Hazing

Power differential hazing damages relationships and creates unhealthy dynamics between new members and existing members. This type of hazing is more mental than physical, thus it is falsely viewed as harmless by members of many groups. Power differential hazing goes against standards of mutual respect and can result in the ridicule, embarrassment, and humiliation of new members.

Common examples and the Communal Principles they violate:

  • Deprivation of privileges granted to existing members (Fairness, Freedom, Respect )
  • Requiring new members to perform duties not required of existing members (Fairness)
  • Expecting certain items to always be in one’s possession (Freedom)
  • Quizzing/drills on meaningless information (Responsibility, Fairness)
    • i.e. Information that is not relevant to the new members success as an active, contributing member within the sorority or fraternity
  • Socially isolating new members (Inclusion, Freedom, Honesty)
    • i.e Preventing new members from interacting with people outside of the fraternity or sorority

Harassment Hazing

Harassment hazing includes behaviors that cause emotional or physical stress. It creates situations that confuse and frustrate new members.

Common examples and the Communal Principles they violate:

  • Verbal abuse (Respect, Responsibility)
  • Threats or implied threats (Honesty, Respect, Freedom)
  • Sleep deprivation (Responsibility, Freedom, Respect)
  • Stunt/skit nights with degrading, cruel, or humiliating acts (Respect, Honesty)
  • Expecting new members to do chores or personal favors for existing members (Fairness, Responsibility, Freedom)

Violent Hazing

Violent hazing includes activities with the potential to cause physical, emotional, or psychological harm to new members.

Common examples and the Communal Principles they violate:

  • Use of alcohol or drugs (Responsibility, Respect)
  • Paddling or other forms of assault (Respect, Responsibility, Freedom, Inclusion, Honesty, Fairness)
  • Public nudity (Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Freedom)
  • Expecting illegal activity (Honesty, Respect, Responsibility, Inclusion)
  • Abductions or kidnaps (Freedom, Responsibility, Respect)
  • Bondage (Freedom, Responsibility, Respect, Inclusion, Honesty)
  • Branding (Freedom, Respect, Responsibility, Inclusion)
  • Water intoxication (Responsibility, Respect, Freedom)

Be aware that these lists are not all-inclusive. Many hazing incidents depend on the context of the hazing, not only on the act itself. For instance, conducting an activity late at night in which new members are chastised for failure and there is no opportunity for debriefing creates an atmosphere conducive to hazing.

To reduce hazing, organizations should conduct new member activities in an open, safe environment.

More Ways to Identify Hazing

The following are key identifiers that hazing is taking place:

  • The activity violates the Communal Principles of Fairness, Freedom, Honesty, Inclusion, Respect, and Responsibility
  • The activity is degrading and/or demeaning
  • Alcohol is involved
  • Active and new members are unwilling to discuss the activity with advisors, parents, headquarters, or prospective members
  • Active members would be unwilling to participate with the new members and engage in the same activities
  • There is risk of injury or question of safety

Adapted from the website