Most people think of Greek fraternities when they think of hazing. But hazing also takes place on sports teams and within other campus organizations. Hazing frequently becomes entrenched, even beloved among older members who fondly reminisce about it. But consent to hazing does not render it any less a violation of campus anti-hazing policies. Most states have also introduced anti-hazing statutes.
Although common rituals in any organization can provide memorable bonding experiences, hazing can be extremely harmful to students. The required activities are typically humiliating, exhausting, or emotionally taxing. Some examples may also qualify as physical or sexual abuse, subjecting perpetrators to Title IX charges or other knock-on infractions.
Students accused of hazing are frequently the only parties without the backing of a large institution. If a hazing episode leads to a serious injury or, worse, death, campus administrators as well as national organizations such as fraternities typically scramble to distance themselves from the incident. A mutual blame game usually ensues.
When negative publicity swirls around a campus hazing incident, universities may try to mete out especially harsh punishment to the students and organizations involved – leaving them with no one to turn to, even as the students cope with the loss of a friend or struggle with trauma over what they have witnessed.
Those accused of hazing should contact an attorney as quickly as possible. Disciplinary actions can result in expulsion or criminal charges. A qualified attorney can assess whether you violated college rules or state law, and minimize the impact on your education.