Impact of Hazing

For the person being hazed

The media is full of stories reporting one of the worst possible consequences of hazing: death. While death is a horrendous possible outcome, there are far more examples of less severe but still life-altering consequences. One study has shown that 71% of those who are hazed suffer from negative consequences. These consequences may include but are not limited to:

  • Physical, emotional, and/or mental instabilities
  • Physical exhaustion from multiple sit ups, running, or other calisthenics
  • Appearance of mental exhaustion or withdrawal from normal lifestyle; change in personality
  • Appearance of sadness or expressions of inferiority
  • Personal health may suffer
  • Personal finances may suffer
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Loss of sense of control and empowerment
  • Decline in grades and coursework
  • Relationships with friends, significant others, and family suffer
  • Post-traumatic stress syndrome
  • Loss of respect for and interest in being part of the organization
  • Erosion of trust within the group members
  • Illness or hospitalization with additional effects on family and friends

Those who are leading or participating in the hazing may unintentionally trigger the memory of a traumatic event in the victim’s past that could result in devastating consequences. Someone who has been hazed is more likely to haze others in the future.

For the person doing the hazing

Those who are accused of engaging in the hazing behaviors may face:

  • Legal actions up to and including jail time and fines:
    • The state of Massachusetts enacted an anti–hazing law in 1985. Those who are accused of engaging in hazing behaviors may face legal actions up to and including jail time and fines of not more than $3,000. In addition, victims of hazing may pursue monetary damage in civil court from individuals and groups involved.
  • College discipline:
    • The Code of Student Conduct prohibits hazing. Those who are found responsible for hazing face sanctions which may result in a separation from the University (suspension or expulsion).
  • Personal impact:
    • In addition to being accountable to the organization, the university, the state criminal process, and civil litigation, those that haze may experience the following:
      • Decline in grades and coursework
      • Possible separation from the university
      • Damaged relationships with friends, significant others, and family
      • Loss of connection to alums through the organization
      • Media scrutiny
      • Damage to one's personal reputation
      • Warped sense of leadership
      • Feelings of shame and guilt

For the organization doing the hazing

By participating in hazing, not only are individuals affected, but the organization also suffers. Individuals and their organization are accountable to the national and/or international offices (if applicable) as well as institutional and local governing boards. In addition to the organization being shut down, the following outcomes may result when members of an organization participate in hazing:

  • Loss of reputation within the UMass Amherst community and the national community
  • Loss of recognition for the organization and/or other privileges revoked
  • Civil damages may be levied against the organization
  • Organizational officers may be held responsible
  • A gradual erosion of the true meaning and values of the organization