The 5 Colleges That Have Passed Strong Hazing Rules in 2022

The media has highlighted the sadistic world of college hazing in recent years, fueling a national call to action against fraternities and sororities. What used to be harmless extra-academic activities are now embroiled in controversies and tragic accidents. As a result, they have lost their appeal in the eyes of many, most especially college students’ parents. 

However, considering how large these networks are and how influential their connections with each other, it’s relatively impossible to disregard the advantages of being part of a fraternity or sorority. 

To address this issue, higher education institutions are passing strict hazing rules to improve students’ welfare and safety in joining such groups. Currently, more than 750 thousand fraternities and sororities are in college, and there are more than nine million alums. South is a particularly popular region for Greek life.

As fraternities become more dangerous, hazing becomes a deadly ritual instead of a rite of passage. A total of 50 college students have been killed by hazing since 2000, and alcohol has been involved in most of these deaths. Due to these tragedies, fraternity culture and student safety issues have increased attention. 

Now, reports indicate that in addition to the efforts of national organizations such as the Anti-Hazing Coalition and the National Panhellenic Conference or NPC, several college administrators and some states are working to address the problem.

College Strong Hazing Rules - fact

What is Fraternity Hazing?

Hazing is always in the news, but what exactly is it? What does this term connote, and what kinds of activities are considered hazing? According to stophazing.org, “hazing includes activities that humiliate, degrade, abuse, or endanger anyone who joins or participates in a group.” 

Other components are included in this definition. An act can be considered a form of hazing when:

  • It’s performed in a group setting.
  • The act is humiliating, dangerous, and morally degrading.
  • The doer does it with or without the consent of the participant.

College fraternities are not the only places where hazing occurs. In fact, this is also present even in offices and the corporate world. Hazing incidents are reported in many settings, such as middle and high schools, colleges and universities, military units, and workplaces. 

Here are some examples of fraternity hazing that groups commonly perform:

  • Intimidation
  • Bullying and/or Cyberbullying
  • Abusive verbal behavior
  • Defamatory terms
  • Forced alcohol or drug intake
  • Sexual stimulations
  • Beating or other physical assaults
  • Threats (physical or verbal)
  • Abduction/Kidnaps

How Did Hazing Start?

In a closed society, hazing is a ceremony designed to welcome new members. However, when tracing how hazing started, you’ll be surprised to see its long history. The practice of hazing rituals dates back to ancient Greece. Plato was the first to introduce it. It all started with Plato’s Academy, founded in 387 B.C.

At that time, the practice of hazing was known as pennalism. First-year students are subjected to mild oppression and torment in the form of pennalism. This term now equates to hazing.

Historically-rooted institutions, such as fraternities and athletic organizations, may adhere to such practices because of this. Among college students participating in clubs or athletics, 55% experienced some form of hazing, according to StopHazing.org. A whopping 95% of these cases are unreported.

What are the Dangers of Hazing?

Hazing Pertaining to Injury, Involuntary Manslaughter, or Loss of Life

As old as human civilization itself, fraternal organizations are either civilized or barbaric. Various organizations admit new members through initiation rites, which have been practiced for decades. It is important to note that a hazing incident in a fraternity house may cross the line between propriety and reason.

In the U.S., it has been so common that society has condemned and disdained it. Every now and then, stories about hazing deaths make front-page news.

The State of Louisiana, for one, has increased penalties for students participating in a hazing activity as part of its anti-hazing law. Participating in hazing acts that result in life-threatening alcohol consumption or abuse of other substances, serious bodily harm, or death will now be considered a felony punishable by up to five years in prison. 

A bill to ban fraternities entirely is also being considered in Tennessee, although the measure could result in underground activity.

Currently, 44 states in the U.S. prohibit hazing. However, there are only ten states where death or serious injury caused by hazing is explicitly a criminal offense. 

What To Do if Some People You Know Are Hazing Victims

It is possible to help someone who is being hazed by applying these tips below:

  • Talk to the victim and make sure the person knows you care about their well-being. Be there for them, and offer advice to seek legal help.
  • Encourage the person to talk to you openly about how they feel. If your friend has joined the group, ask them what they had to do to get in. This is an example of bystander intervention.
  • Look out for symptoms of hazing like physical injuries, depression, lack of sleep, stress, mood changes, or dropped energy levels.
  • It is important to emphasize that hazing is wrong, and the person does not have to participate.
  • Ask your friend if they are forbidden from discussing certain topics if you suspect they are being hazed. The person is very likely being hazed if this is the case.
  • Let the person know you are there to support them and ask what you can do to help.
  • Seek help from an adult or anyone who can offer legal advice in this matter. However, this should be with your friend’s consent.

Universities Stepping Up to Hazing

The government is paying increased attention to hazing, and university administrators are also concerned about it. Many national and local laws were established to reduce these cases. Depending on the law created, there are different degrees of hazing that can be punishable. 

On the other hand, universities are also doing their fair share of stepping up their efforts to change through education initiatives and collectively monitoring Greek life.

According to a news report, there had been 31 colleges participating in discussions about clamping down on fraternities. Government officials and college delegates all gathered to brainstorm ways to improve collaboration with Greek organizations at the national level.

Moreover, there has also been discussion about establishing an online system for recording incidents across the country and determining which schools are succeeding and failing in hazing prevention.


List of Colleges That Have Passed Strong Hazing Rules

University of Virginia

University of Virginia

“Adam’s Law” was passed by Virginia lawmakers overwhelmingly. Virginia Commonwealth University freshman Adam Oakes, who died of an alcohol overdose last year while pledging a fraternity, inspired the legislation. Virginia student groups will have to receive anti-hazing training under the new law. 

Politicians from both local and national levels co-sponsored the legislation. All members of student organizations and new members will be provided “extensive, current, and on-site education and information” on hazing pursuant to the bill.

Student reporters who report hazing incidents “in good faith” are also protected from some disciplinary actions, and university officials must provide a public report of all hazing incidents.

A program against hazing is already offered at the University of Virginia’s Gordie Center, named after Lynn Gordon Bailey Jr., an 18-year-old who died of an alcohol overdose in 2004 due to fraternity hazing at the University of Colorado Boulder.


Norwich University

Norwich University

A hazing policy at Norwich University incorporates State of Vermont hazing statutes, U.S. Military regulations pertaining to hazing, and Norwich University guiding values. 

When a person commits hazing against a student, whether individually or in concert with others, they are committing the act of hazing. If a student pledges, is initiated, is affiliated with, holds office in, or maintains membership in an organization affiliated with Norwich University (like the Corps of Cadets), this is considered hazing.

The university also considers it under hazing when one solicits, directs, aids, or participates in all or part of the above acts actively or passively. Students must apply good judgment, common sense, and leadership principles to interpret this definition. It is possible for hazing to occur both on and off campus. 

Hazing does not only occur between superiors and subordinates. It happens even within close groups of friends, and Norwich University is aware of this. It is not a defense to violate this provision if one expresses or implies consent to hazing.

Neither hazing nor intimidation shall be used to accomplish legitimate curricular, extracurricular, or military training program goals. The university comes with policies and regulations to further explain them.


Ursinus College

Ursinus College

Hazing is not tolerated at Ursinus College. Suppose any student, student organization, team, or other members of a student organization is found to have engaged in harassment, aggravating harassment, or organizational harassment under this policy, whether such conduct occurs on or off campus.

In that case, the college may take disciplinary action against them, as well as bring criminal charges under state law, such as the Timothy J. Piazza Antihazing Law.

Its policy explicitly prohibits hazing of any kind, including aggravated hazing, and organizational hazing, as defined by said law. If the minor or student’s consent was sought or obtained, that could not be used as a defense. Moreover, administrative sanction or approval does not constitute a defense.

Also in Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania State University also strongly condemns unlawful hazing practices, taking into account the state’s Timothy J. Piazza Anti-Hazing Law. Penn State University reminds its students that participants in violent hazing activities can be criminally prosecuted.


State University of New York

State University of New York

Across the United States, hazing continues to be a widespread problem, and the State University of New York is taking things into its own hands. They’re taking action due to the increase in hazing-related injuries and deaths occurring in institutions across the country. 

To prevent hazing from happening again, many states have passed hazing laws. Several young men have died from hazing-related incidents in the first few months of 2021, with several others under investigation.

SUNY must ensure that its policies and procedures for dealing with hazing incidents comply with state laws. Furthermore, individuals and chapters may be liable in civil court for any psychological or physical harm they suffer as a result of hazing. 

Both policies and state law prohibit hazing. A lawsuit can be filed against the organization, national affiliates, individual group members (and their parents), and group leaders. There have been numerous successful lawsuits related to hazing on college campuses.

At least 46 states have hazing laws on the books. Among these laws are criminal laws with sanctions for individuals and universities and educational codes that threaten to withhold funding from institutions that fail to conduct a thorough investigation.


Michigan State University

Michigan State University

As part of the university experience, fraternity and sorority life is designed to be safe, positive, and educational. A fraternity or sorority’s values contradict hazing. Michigan State University shares the same sentiments. 

To prevent member chapters from participating in these activities, the Fraternity & Sorority Councils educate and raise awareness. Hazing is also strictly prohibited at Michigan State. In fact, this hazing law is commonly known as Garrett’s Law and prohibits hazing in Michigan under M.C.L.A. 750.411(t).

Michigan State University defines hazing as requiring or encouraging any action, whether voluntary or not, when one is initiated, affiliated with, or continues to be a member of any group that poses a substantial risk of harm or humiliation to oneself or others. Each student at UMSU is provided and guided with a handbook as they join Spartan Life


Key Takeaways

  • Parents are becoming increasingly outraged by universities’ inaction on hazing throughout the country as the death toll continues to rise. A growing number of states are bringing anti-hazing laws into effect and pushing for stricter punishments for hazing. And so do some universities and colleges, like the ones listed above. 
  • Fraternity members and sorority members aren’t innately inclined to haze new members, but they’re often placed in situations where they can do so. Hazing will be less likely to occur if new members have the opportunity to discuss their experiences without being punished.

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