Hazing Information

Hazing involves traditions or rituals expected of someone joining (or maintaining membership in) a group or organization that humiliate, degrade or harm the person, but that are usually framed as community or team building. In addition to harming the person being hazed, it damages the group, organization or team by undermining the cohesion it claims to build, and it damages the reputation of the entire university community. Regardless of the person's "willingness" to participate, hazing creates a cycle of humiliation, degradation or violence.

Hazing is often associated with fraternities, but it is just as common on sports teams, in residences and in other groups or organizations. Understanding the mechanisms that perpetuate hazing traditions may help us make the change necessary to end the violence and humiliation in favour of initiation rituals that truly do build a stronger and better community.


Myths and Facts

MYTH: Hazing builds strength and character.
FACT: Living through a traumatic experience is not guaranteed to build strength. In fact, it can lead to anxiety, depression and other mental health issues, low self esteem, alienation from the community, and many other negative effects that eat away at an individual.
MYTH: Hazing creates community.
FACT: Communities are built on trust and mutual respect. Hazing undermines the very things that a strong community needs to sustain itself. Hazing is really about power and hierarchy.
MYTH: It fosters unity and brings people closer together.
FACT: Hazing is abusive, and fosters resentment and fear. People simply cannot form close bonds with abusers, no matter how much they want to convince themselves that they can.
MYTH: It is a way of teaching respect and discipline.
FACT: Respect must be earned; it can't be taught. Likewise, discipline imposed is not discipline learned. On the contrary, it teaches mistrust and alienates recruits from senior members of group.
MYTH: It is entirely voluntary. Only those who want to be hazed do it.
FACT: New recruits to a group or team are subject to extreme peer pressure to participate. They are also seeking acceptance in a new group. The consequence of not participating may be alienation and isolation - the worst thing a person new to campus can imagine. There is no true consent when the consequences of not participating seem so dire.
MYTH: It's all in fun. Sometimes pranks go sideways, but it's harmless.
FACT: Hazing is premeditated abuse, characterized by attempts to humiliate, harass, ridicule, embarrass or cause physical or psychological discomfort or harm.

Examples of Hazing

Examples of hazing from stophazing.org 

1. Subtle Hazing
  • Deception
  • Assigning demerits
  • Silence periods with implied threats for violation
  • Deprivation of privileges granted to other members
  • Requiring new members/rookies to perform duties not assigned to other members
  • Socially isolating new members/rookies
  • Line-ups and Drills/Tests on meaningless information
  • Name-calling
  • Requiring new members/rookies to refer to other members with titles (e.g. "Mr.," "Miss") while they are identified with demeaning terms
  • Expecting certain items to always be in one's possession
2. Harassment
  • Verbal abuse
  • Threats or implied threats
  • Asking new members to wear embarrassing or humiliating attire
  • Stunt or skit nights with degrading, crude, or humiliating acts
  • Expecting new members/rookies to perform personal service to other members such as carrying books, errands, cooking, cleaning, etc.
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Sexual simulations
  • Expecting new members/rookies to be deprived of maintaining a normal schedule of bodily cleanliness.
  • Being expected to harass others
3. Violence
  • Forced or coerced alcohol or other drug consumption
  • Beating, paddling, or other forms of assault
  • Branding
  • Forced or coerced ingestion of vile substances or concoctions
  • Burning
  • Water intoxication
  • Expecting abuse or mistreatment of animals
  • Public nudity
  • Expecting illegal activity
  • Bondage
  • Abductions/kidnaps
  • Exposure to cold weather or extreme heat without appropriate protection

Video Resources