Information About Hazing

Hazing is a serious issue that occurs on many college campuses. Find out more information on misconceptions about hazing, what hazing actually is, and how to report a hazing incident.

What is Hazing?

Definition: HAZING – Any act which endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student, including, but not limited to, making physical contact with or requiring physical activity of such student, or that is humiliating, intimidating or demeaning, or which destroys or removes public or private property, for the purpose of initiation, admission into, affiliation with, or as a condition for continued membership in, a group or organization. Hazing can occur individually or in concert with others, includes active or passive participation and occurs regardless of the willingness to participate in the activities.

On this page:

Did You Know?
  • Hazing occurs in sports teams, clubs and organizations, fraternities and sororities, honor societies, and more
  • Hazing is often about power and control
  • Hazing does not build unity
  • More than 79% of NCAA athletes report coming to college with a prior hazing experience from high school or middle school
  • A significant number of hazing incidents and deaths involve alcohol consumption
  • Students are more likely to be hazed if they knew an adult who was hazed
  • Two in five students say they are aware of hazing taking place on their school or campus
  • Hazing occurs in middle schools, high schools and colleges
  • Both male and female students report a high level of hazing

Misconceptions About Hazing

Forms/Examples of Hazing

Hazing isn't always as obvious as you think it is. Hazing can range from subtle actions to physically dangerous situations. See what activities are considered hazing below.

Am I Being Hazed?

Warning Signs

Some new members may be more okay with some things than others. This is because hazing, like other forms of abuse, is personal. It effects individuals in very different ways. Some people may have had previous experiences with violence, family problems, substance abuse, etc.  All these experiences effect the way they deal with stress and problems. If you feel you are being hazed, then you probably are.

Questions to Ask Yourself

If you’re not sure whether or not you or someone you know is being hazed, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is this causing emotional or physical distress to others or stress to myself or others?
  • Does participating in this activity violate my values or those of this organization?
  • Am I being asked to keep these activities a secret? If so, why?
  • Would we get in trouble if a college administrator or faculty walked by and saw us?
  • Would I feel comfortable participating in this activity if my parents were watching?
  • Am I doing something illegal?

Four Steps for How You Can Stop Hazing

1. Assess the Situation

Be able to recognize hazing when it’s happening to you or around you:

  • Is it causing embarrassment, harassment or ridicule and risking emotional or physical harm?
  • Will we have to keep this secret? What will happen if someone posts this online?
  • Is this illegal? Is this wrong?

2. Speak Out!

Express your concerns and suggest alternatives. Remind others of your group’s goals and mission:

  • Is it worth the risk? Who is going to take responsibility for this?
  • What happens if this goes wrong and someone gets hurt? What are we really trying to do here?
  • I’m not OK with this… Are you?

3. Remove Yourself Safely

Do not physically intervene and DO NOT drive away under the influence

4. Report the Incident

Follow the steps outlined in "Reporting"

Adapted from AliveTek, Inc. and (


As of fall 2020, the University at Buffalo’s Hazing Amnesty Policy states:

The University recognizes that students may be reluctant to report hazing activity due to a fear of potential consequences for their own conduct.  Therefore, a student who acts in good faith to report activity that may fall within the definition of hazing and who cooperates fully as a witness in the investigation and student conduct process may not be subject to student conduct sanctions related to their own participation in hazing behavior, as determined by the University in its sole discretion.

In the event amnesty is granted for self-reported behaviors, if evidence is presented that the student has continued to engage in hazing behaviors, or has knowledge of hazing activity that was not reported, they may be held accountable for past behavior. Students who choose to report and request amnesty for their own conduct under this policy should know that amnesty does not apply to any criminal or civil action that may be taken by a law enforcement or other agency, including University Police.

Anonymous Reporting

If you or someone you know has been or is actively being hazed, you may make an anonymous report by contacting the Dean of Students office at 716-645-2982 or by utilizing the University at Buffalo Police Department’s Silent Witness form.