University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Bullying, Harassment and Violence

Most campus violence comes from within the campus community. An estimated 70 percent of violent acts on campus are perpetrated by the victims’ fellow students. On-campus violence can take many forms, including rape and sexual assault, fights, muggings, bullying, hazing, harassment, and hate crimes.

Violence can take many forms including:

Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Bullying includes things like internet trolling or flaming, name-calling, threats, spreading rumors or threatening to release private information/photos, attacking someone physically or verbally, and purposefully excluding someone from a group.

Stalking is repeated harassing or threatening behavior that continues after a person has been told to stop. Stalking behaviors can include following a person, damaging personal property, repeated phone calls or texts.

Harassment is unwelcome conduct based on a protected class (race, national origin, color, sex, age, disability, religion) that is severe, pervasive, or persistent and creates a hostile environment. Although bullying and harassment sometimes overlap, not all bullying is harassment and not all harassment is bullying. For more information about sexual harassment, see Sexual Misconduct.

Hazing is any intentionally created action or situation that causes embarrassment, harassment or ridicule and/or risks emotional and/or physical harm to members of a group or team for the purpose of initiation or admission into, affiliation with, or as a condition for continued membership in an organization. Hazing can happen to new or existing group members. It can involve willful destruction or tampering with public or private property; the forced compromise of moral or religious values; forced consumption of any liquid or solid; placing someone at risk (e.g. abandoning someone and making them find their way); or impairment of physical liberties (such as curfews); or other interference with academic endeavors. Hazing is a crime under Massachusetts law. A person cannot give their consent to be hazed.