Recognizing Hazing

Students sometimes have difficulty understanding hazing, lacking information about what actions create harmful situations and lead to negative group dynamics. Being able to identify hazing is an important step in eliminating it. The University's Meliora Values 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, and is falsely viewed as harmless by some groups. Power differential hazing goes against standards of mutual respect and can result in the ridicule, embarrassment, and humiliation of new members.

Harassment Hazing

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

Violent Hazing

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

More Ways to Identify Hazing

The following are key indicators that hazing is taking place:

  • The activity violates the Meliora Values of Equity, Leadership, Integrity, Openness, Respect, and Accountability
  • 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

This content was adapted from the stop hazing website.