Make the following inquiries of each activity to determine whether or not it is hazing:
- Is alcohol involved?
- Will active/current members of the group refuse to participate with the new members and do exactly what they’re asked to do?
- Does the activity risk emotional or physical abuse?
- Is there risk of injury or a question of safety?
- Do you have any reservation describing the activity to your parents, to a professor or College official?
- Would we get in trouble if an Office of Student Life staff member walked by?
- Are you being asked/ asking others to keep these activities secret?
- Is something illegal going on?
- Does participation violate personal values or those of the organization?
- Would you object to the activity being photographed for the school newspaper or filmed by the local TV news crew?
If the answer to any of these questions is ‘yes,’ the activity is probably hazing.
In addition, it is important to have conversations with new members about hazing. If a new member was asked by an initiated member to do something that could potentially be considered hazing, would he or she really says no?
MYTHS AND FACTS ABOUT HAZING
Myth #1: Hazing a primarily a problem in only fraternities and sororities.
- Fact: Hazing is a societal problem. Hazing incidents have been frequently documented in the military, athletic teams, marching bands, religious cults, professional schools, and other types of clubs and/or, organizations. Reports of hazing activities in high schools are on the rise.
Myth #2: Hazing is no more than foolish pranks that sometimes go awry.
- Fact: Hazing is an act of power and control over others – it is victimization. Hazing is premeditated and NOT accidental. Hazing is abusive, degrading and often life-threatening.
Myth #3: As long as there’s no malicious intent, a little hazing should be O.K.
- Fact: Even if there’s no malicious intent, safety may still be a factor in traditional hazing activities that are considered to be all in good fun. For example: serious accidents have occurred during scavenger hunts and kidnapping trips. Besides, what purpose do such activities serve in promoting growth and development of group team members?
Myth #4: Hazing is an effective way to teach respect and develop discipline.
- Fact: First of all, respect must be earned- not taught. Victims of hazing rarely report having respect for these who have hazed them. Just like other forms victimization, hazing breeds mistrust, apathy and alienation.
Myth #5: If someone agrees to participate in an activity, it can’t be considered hazing.
- Fact: In states that have laws against hazing, consent of the victim can’t be used as a defense in a civil suit. This is because even if someone agrees to participate in a potentially hazardous action it may not be true consent when considering the peer pressure and desire to belong to the group
Myth #6: It’s difficult to determine whether or not a certain activity is hazing- its such a gray area sometimes.
- Fact: It’s not difficult to decide if an activity is hazing if you use common sense and ask yourself the questions listed on the previous page (5).
- 1.5 million high school students are hazed each year; 47% of students came to college already having experienced hazing.
- 55% of college students involved in clubs, teams and organizations experience hazing.
- 40% of athletes who reported being involved in hazing behaviors report that a coach or advisor was aware of the activity; 22% report that the coach was involved.
- One out of five students say that they are aware of hazing taking place on their campus. More that one out of five report that they witnessed hazing personally.
- In 95% of cases where students identified their experience as hazing, they did not report the events to campus officials.
- Nine out of ten students who have experienced hazing behavior in college do not consider themselves to have been hazed.
- As of February 12, 2010 the number of recorded hazing/pledging/rushing-related deaths in fraternities and sororities stands at 96 – 90 males and 6 females.
- 82% of deaths from hazing involve alcohol.