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.
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.
The Truth: Approximately 30 people have died in hazing incidents during the past five years and numerous others have been severely injured, physically or mentally.
The Truth: Unity will be created within the people being hazed but they will be unified against the organization. The end result is a number of unified groups within one disunited organization. Why not strive for complete unity instead?
The Truth: A more positive, educational new member program can only result in a better all-around organization. If the other groups condemn your organization for improving and being the best organization on campus, who is going to listen?
The Truth: If you believe this, why not publicize your organization’s planned hazing activities during the new member period/intake and see how many new members the organization actually gets to join.
The Truth: Would you go through it again? It only takes one year without hazing to break this so-called “tradition”.
The Truth: There are positive and negative methods of administering discipline. Discipline and reward should be the same for everyone in the organization – there shouldn’t be different standards for different levels of the organization.
The Truth: Many times the initiation ceremony has been overshadowed by the activities during the pre-initiation week. As a result, the new members are too tired, too hungover, too hungry, or too bewildered to appreciate any of the beauty of the initiation ceremony. Furthermore the initiation is then viewed in a negative way, as an escape from, or an end to the new member period instead of the beginning of a lifetime in the fraternity/sorority.
The Truth: Very, very few alumni who are aware of the legal ramifications of hazing would ever promote such activities. Even if there are some alumni who feel that hazing is necessary, the loss of their support does not compared to the loss of life or injury to a new member, losing the chapter’s charter, or an expensive lawsuit.
The Truth: In the unlikely event that they do, this is in no way a justification for hazing in your chapter. If the chapter members are arrested or sued for a hazing incident, do you think this excuse will stand up in court? Verdict-guilty or not guilty.
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.
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.
If you’re not sure whether or not you or someone you know is being hazed, ask yourself these questions:
Be able to recognize hazing when it’s happening to you or around you:
Express your concerns and suggest alternatives. Remind others of your group’s goals and mission:
Do not physically intervene and DO NOT drive away under the influence
Follow the steps outlined in "Reporting"
Adapted from AliveTek, Inc. and HazingPrevention.org (prevent.zone/hazing-prevention).
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.
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.