It's never ok to HAZE
For many students, being part of a campus organization is a meaningful aspect of life at Cornell. Lasting friendships and personal growth are two of the rewards that involvement in a close-knit group may bring. But occasionally, the process of joining a fraternity, sorority, athletic team, or other student organization or team can have a shadow side, involving some form of hazing. (Read more about joining a group.)
- Most Cornell students (87%) believe "it is never ok to humiliate or intimidate new group members." However, hazing still happens at Cornell (view campus violations). Cornell has developed model programs and educational campaigns to address the problem as it occurs on campus, but, putting an end to hazing requires the engagement and enforcement of all Cornellians.
- Hazing is NOT just harmless pranks or a silly rite of passage. For some students, the secret initiation rites they undergo when joining campus groups can have a significant negative impact on their physical and mental health. In high schools and colleges across the nation, hazing (e.g., forced sleep deprivation, verbal or physical abuse, coercive drinking rituals) results in poor academic performance, emotional difficulties, alcohol poisoning, and other serious health consequences. (Read more about forms of hazing.)
- There's no good defense for hazing. Many students who haze defend their practices as important traditions that foster group unity and challenge individuals to grow through adversity. And when new members join, their desire to be accepted by others, pressures to conform, and fear of punishment may lead them to submit to degrading and dangerous practices. Some may even say they want to be hazed. Often students do not understand that they can achieve group bonding and personal growth through non-hazing activities.
- Hazing is perpetuated by secrecy. Students who have been hazed are often reluctant to report their experience because they do not want to get the group in trouble or they fear retribution. As one means of addressing these concerns, the University launched an anti-hazing website which allows students and others to submit confidential reports of hazing to campus officials. Additionally, hazing violations are posted on the website. We encourage parents and students to visit the site and learn more about what constitutes hazing, and what can be done about it.
- Parents and friends can play a key role in stopping hazing. The demands of hazing may isolate students from their friends and families, so talking with someone about his or her extracurricular activities can help you find out if hazing is occurring.
Some students who have been hazed say they wished someone had asked them about what they were going through. They wanted someone to know, but they felt pressured by the group not to tell anyone.
If you suspect that your student or friend is being hazed but is reluctant to discuss it, ask if there are things going on that he or she isn't supposed to talk about. If that is the case, it is likely that hazing is involved. Read more about what to say if someone is being hazed.
- Report hazing. Contact Dean of Students, Kent Hubbell, at 607 255-1115 or confidentially through Cornell's hazing website.
Publish date: January 8, 2017