Hazing and Greek Organizations

Updated October 24, 2019

The University at Buffalo has a zero-tolerance policy regarding hazing and aggressively pursues any violations of this policy that occur.  Hazing is inconsistent with the values of UB and, as such, the university has established policies to deter these behaviors and enact appropriate disciplinary action when needed. 

While federal privacy law prohibits UB from commenting on disciplinary proceedings involving individual students, whenever there is a serious violation of UB’s student code of conduct, such as hazing, students face suspension and the possibility of expulsion from the university.

Organized student life programs are a valuable part of the university environment and help further UB’s educational mission.  The university formally recognizes the status of those student organizations that abide by UB polices and the student code of conduct. Recognized student organizations further the university's educational mission. The university actively warns students not to join or participate in the activities of unrecognized fraternal groups because these organizations do not commit to the university’s high standards governing student behavior and organizational activities. 

Recognized organizations encourage academic excellence, self-governance, and service to the university and greater community. They offer opportunities for leadership and encourage mutual respect for others. 

UB has more than 35 recognized social fraternities and sororities affiliated with our campus.  These organizations are expected to complement the university's educational mission and to comply with campus policies, rules and regulations, as well as federal, state, and local laws.  

To guide fraternities and sororities on our campus in a positive direction, the university has instituted a number of specific policies and procedures. Such policies include deferred recruitment.  This means that freshmen are not eligible for membership in a fraternity or sorority until they have earned 12 credits and have a GPA of at least 2.5. This encourages students to focus on their academic success before they become heavily involved in an organization that requires a serious time commitment.  

New fraternal members are required to attend informational seminars, which address such issues as: the history of Greek-letter societies, hazing and sexual assault prevention, and the dangers of binge drinking and alcohol/substance abuse. Attendees are informed regarding the hazing and alcohol policies of both UB and the State of New York.

Earlier this year, the university launched an internal review into the activities of Greek-letter, social, fraternal organizations at UB. The internal review committee, formed by UB vice president for student life A. Scott Weber, examined each organization's health and safety educational programs, policies and practices, with a special focus on anti-hazing.

This internal review into the activities of Greek-letter, social, fraternal organizations at UB has been completed. The committee’s report specifies four broad recommendations, and 14 specific recommendations to improve University oversight and education and increase the accountability within these organizations for self-monitoring. You can learn more about this internal review in the news release

The university is committed to providing a safe and welcoming environment for our students to pursue their studies and participate in appropriate activities that are an essential part of the college experience. 

FAQ

What are the different types of organizations/groups?

  • Recognized groups - These are the organizations that are legitimately affiliated with the University at Buffalo’s Greek community and recognized as UB campus student organizations. Recognized groups must adhere to guidelines and policies related to fraternities and sororities.
  • Unrecognized (banned) groups – These are groups of UB students that wrongfully attempt to function and are not recognized by UB. The University discourages UB students from attending their events and from affiliating with these organizations. Affiliation with these groups is a violation of the UB Student Code of Conduct and puts students at risk for suspension and/or expulsion from the University

How does the university warn students about unrecognized fraternities?

Each year at student orientation, representatives from the university strongly warn students and their families not to join unrecognized fraternal groups because these groups do not abide by university rules and have been known to engage in hazing activities.  The university has a zero-tolerance policy against hazing.  UB also warns students that joining a unrecognized fraternal group is in itself a violation of the Student Code of Conduct and could result in disciplinary action.  

What steps does the university take to stop the activities of unrecognized fraternities?

The most effective strategy is to actively and consistently warn students and their parents about unrecognized fraternities and sororities, and about these groups’ past bad conduct.

When the university learns that students are operating a unrecognized fraternity or have joined one, the university initiates an investigation and enacts its judicial process, which typically results in discipline.  This process is often made difficult by the fact that students who join a unrecognized fraternity do not divulge their participation.  Often, parents do not know that that their son or daughter has joined a unrecognized Greek group. 

Should more be done by the university?

UB encourages students to be more forthcoming with information so that the university can more closely monitor these rogue organizations and help to prevent future incidents

To more effectively monitor and discipline these activities, UB asks students and their parents to report the activities of unrecognized fraternities and sororities to the university. 

When a serious incident occurs in an unrecognized organization, student cooperation is critically important to the university’s investigation and to the judicial process. 

Earlier this year, the university launched an internal review into the activities of Greek-letter, social, fraternal organizations at UB. The internal review committee, formed by UB vice president for student life A. Scott Weber, examined each organization's health and safety educational programs, policies and practices, with a special focus on anti-hazing.

This internal review into the activities of Greek-letter, social, fraternal organizations at UB has been completed. The committee report specifies four broad recommendations, and 14 specific recommendations to improve University oversight and education, and increase the accountibility within these organizations for self-monitoring. You can learn more about this internal review in the news release.