WHAT IS HAZING?
When most people hear the term “hazing” it conjures up images of fraternities and sororities. In reality however, hazing occurs in many arenas and not just fraternities and sororities. Hazing can occur in military groups, athletic teams, bands, and any student organizations at the collegiate level. Many believe that hazing in fraternities and in general is nothing more than silly antics and harmless pranks like those they see on television or in movies.
The reality is hazing can happen anywhere and is much more than just pranks. Hazing can cause emotional, mental, and even physical harm to individuals and many don’t speak out about it for fear of being removed or ostracized by the group. Before you ever require a new member/rookies to do something, think about how they may perceive it as well as how someone outside of your organization may interpret the action. Stophazing.org says it best:
“In some cases, determining the risk level of hazing is fairly straightforward—as in the case of forced alcohol consumption. In other cases however, many point to the so-called “gray areas” where it seems more complicated to predict whether or not a particular activity might be interpreted as hazing. While some activities may seem innocuous to one person, they may be considered humiliating, degrading and harmful to another. It is often difficult for students to judge when they are crossing the line from harmless to harmful.”
Hazing is defined in the Code of Student Responsibility as “Any activity related to membership in a group or team, including a Student Organization, that may demean, disgrace, or embarrass a person or that risks endangering the mental, physical, or emotional health of a person, regardless of whether such person has agreed to participation in the activity. Hazing includes violation of North Carolina law as established in NCGS §14-35.”
Utilizing information from stophazing.org, UNC Charlotte has identified three types of hazing. The University considers all types of hazing to be serious.
Subtle hazing –behaviors that emphasize a power imbalance between new members/rookies and other members of the group. Because these types of Hazing are often taken-for-granted or accepted as “harmless” or meaningless, Subtle Hazing typically involves activities or attitudes that breach reasonable standards of mutual respect and place new members/rookies on the receiving end of ridicule, embarrassment, and/or humiliation tactics. New members/rookies often feel the need to endure Subtle Hazing to feel like part of the group or team. (Some types of Subtle Hazing may also be considered Harassment Hazing).
Harassment hazing – behaviors that cause emotional anguish or physical discomfort in order to feel like part of the group. Harassment Hazing confuses, frustrates, and causes undue stress for new members/rookies. (Some types of Harassment Hazing can also be considered Violent Hazing).
Violent hazing – behaviors that have the potential to cause physical, emotional, and/or psychological harm.
EXAMPLES OF HAZING
Below are some examples of behaviors that the University considers to be acts of Hazing. This is not an exhaustive list and does not represent every action that could be considered Hazing.
- Physical, verbal, or psychological abuse, shock, or discomfort
- Involuntary confinement, excursions, and/or kidnappings
- Deprivation of food, water, shelter and any other basic needs
- Implied, coerced, or forced consumption of alcohol, food, drugs or other substances
- Forced fatigue or sleep deprivation
- Implied, coerced, or forced physical activity or physical activity that is not a part of the group/organization mission
- Exclusion from social contact
- Servitude or morally degrading or humiliating games or activities
- Any activity that interferes with scholastic/academic responsibilities
- Misleading students regarding the membership or participation requirements of a student group or organization
- Wearing or carrying of any obscene or physically burdensome article or the implied, coerced, or forced removal of clothing
It is important that all members of the UNC Charlotte community speak out against hazing and report violations of the UNC Charlotte Hazing Policy. You can fill out an online incident report here or by clicking the “Report an Incident” button.
WHAT INDIVIDUALS CAN DO
If you are being hazed make sure to talk to your organization’s leadership (president, chair, etc.). If you do not feel comfortable discussing it with them, you can fill out an incident report online or contact Student Accountability & Conflict Resolution at firstname.lastname@example.org. Do not ignore it – no one should ever feel like they are being hazed.
WHAT ORGANIZATIONS CAN DO
Educate! Make sure all of your members in the group know what hazing is and how they can report it. Set up a point person in your organization so members have someone to go to for hazing issues.
National Anti-Hazing Hotline