Identifying Hazing

Hazing can be subtle, harassing, or violent in nature. It can manifest itself in the form of physical violence, forced physical activities, or psychological and/or emotional harm, which can be violations of Massachusetts law. If you're not sure whether or not something happening to you or to someone else is hazing, ask yourself these questions:

  • Would I feel comfortable participating in this activity if my parents were watching?
  • Would we get in trouble if a college administrator or faculty walked by and saw us?
  • Am I being asked to keep these activities a secret?
  • Am I doing anything illegal?
  • Does participation in this activity violate my values or those of this organization?
  • Is this causing emotional or physical distress or stress to myself or to others?

Examples of Hazing

Although it is impossible to list all possible hazing behaviors because many are context-specific, the list below provides some common examples of hazing behaviors.

  • Cutting, branding, requiring tattoos, labeling, or shaving of parts of the body
  • Required “greeting” of members in a specific manner when seen on campus
  • Required walking in groups to class, events, etc.
  • Required carrying of certain items
  • Loss of voice due to having to yell
  • Performing of special tasks for the members or others (cleaning a group's living/meeting area, airport pick-ups, serving as designated driver at all hours of the day and night, etc.)
  • Required attendance at late night work sessions, resulting in sleep deprivation
  • Not coming home for days or weeks at a time
  • Forced consumption of alcohol and/or misuse of substances
  • Forced consumption of food substances
  • Requiring attire which is not appropriate or embarrassing
  • Giving short notice for an unscheduled required meeting or event
  • Surrendering of personal property, keys, cell phones, lap tops, etc.
  • Physical exposure or abuse (nudity, paddling, pushing, shoving, hitting, punching, tackling, or throwing any substance at another person or submerging or dunking individuals in water or other substances).
  • Being dropped off at an unknown location and made to find the way back to campus