Anti-Hazing Policy

Effective Date: August 15, 2022

Review Date: August 15, 2025

Responsible Office: Student Affairs

Relates to: All members of the College Community, including, but not limited to, Faculty, Staff, and Students.

I. Purpose

The College of Wooster (the “College”) prohibits all forms of Hazing and has developed a comprehensive Anti-Hazing Policy (the “Policy”) in compliance with Collin’s Law (Ohio’s AntiHazing law). The Anti-Hazing Policy prohibits all forms of Hazing—as a result, Hazing will not be tolerated at the College.

II. Scope

This Policy (and Ohio law) is applicable to all members of the College community including students, administrators, employees, faculty, staff, consultants, volunteers, and alumni who are affiliated with the College.

This Policy applies to any conduct between two or more people who are affiliated with the College, regardless of whether the conduct occurs on-campus or off-campus.

This Policy applies to the activities of Registered Student Organizations and unregistered organizations, regardless of whether or not such activity is College-sponsored. This Policy applies to all locations where College-sponsored or College-organized activities are taking place, including distance education, study abroad, service trips, experiential learning opportunities, athletic, club sport, or other group travel.

This Policy may also be applied to behavior conducted online, via e-mail, or through electronic media, in cases where the behavior is not protected by freedom of expression. The College does not regularly search for online information but may take action if such information is brought to the attention of College officials.

III. Prohibition of Hazing

A. Ohio Law

Any Hazing prohibited under Ohio law is prohibited by this Policy. The Ohio Revised Code, Section 2903.31, defines Hazing as follows: doing any act or coercing another, including the victim, to do any act of initiation into any student or other organization or any act to continue or reinstate membership in or affiliation with any student or other organization that causes or creates a substantial risk of causing mental or physical harm to any person, including coercing another to consume alcohol or a drug of abuse, as defined in section 3719.011 of the Revised Code.

B. Further Definition

In addition, this Policy further defines Hazing to include any act that is related to the initiation, admission or continued affiliation with any student organization or group, that endangers the mental, emotional, or physical health or safety of any individual.

Such acts of Hazing may include, but are not limited to:
Activities that might reasonably cause embarrassment, emotional harm, or negatively impact an individual’s mental health or dignity, such as:

  1. forced sleep deprivation,
  2. exclusion from social contact,
  3. public humiliation,
  4. psychological shock, or
  5. harassing, yelling, or cursing.
  6. Activities that might reasonably cause physical harm, such as:
    • whipping,
    • beating,
    • branding,
    • extreme forms of calisthenics,
    • exposure to the elements without appropriate dress or for long periods of time, or
    • any other activity that creates a reasonable likelihood of bodily injury.
  7. Activities that require the consumption of food, liquid, alcohol, drugs, or any other substance that subjects an individual to an unreasonable risk of harm.
  8. Activities that unreasonably require an inordinate amount of an individual’s time or impose requirements that might impair an individual’s academic efforts.
  9. Activities that restrict an individual’s personal freedom or conduct, such as eating meals, using the phone, returning to or sleeping in their room, engaging in normal personal hygiene, etc.
  10. Physically restraining, tying up, blind-folding, kidnapping, simulating kidnapping, or similar restrictions of an individual’s movements or senses.
  11. Compelling, requiring, or encouraging participation in any activity that is illegal, contrary to an individual’s genuine moral or religious beliefs, or contrary to the rules and regulations of the College.
  12. Compelling, requiring, or encouraging an individual to stand or walk in formation (i.e., line-ups).
  13. Compelling, requiring, or encouraging an individual to carry heavy or awkward items, such as rocks, helmets, paddles, matches, etc.
  14. Compelling, requiring, or encouraging public sex, public nudity, or indecent exposure.
  15. New member education programs that run past the designated timeline for certain individuals without consent of the Inter-Greek Council (IGC). This includes falsely ending the program.

C. General Principles

  1. Hazing can, and often does, violate a range of other College policies.
  2. Hazing includes intentional, knowing, and reckless conduct.
  3. It is not a defense to a charge of hazing that a student consented to the conduct in question.

IV. Penalties for Hazing Violations

A. College Penalties

Hazing is a serious offense and is subject to the full range of sanctions (reprimand, disciplinary probation, suspension, and expulsion). In addition, other educational activities may be required as conditions of the sanction. An individual, organization, or group may be subject to other outcomes in accordance with the applicable constituents, academic processes, groups in which the student is involved, or relevant governing bodies. The College has the right to act regardless of the actions of an organization’s governing body.

  1. Violations of this Policy by students and/or student organizations will be sanctioned in accordance with the Code of Student Conduct identified in the Scot’s Key. (See Scot’s Key 10, the Conduct System.)
    • Violations of this Policy by student organizations will be sanctioned by the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities or a designated hearing panel in consultation with the divisional leader who has oversight for the organizations and the Senior Associate Dean of Students. The Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities may convene a formal hearing panel to recommend sanctions.
    • A student or organization will have a right to an advisor of their choosing. The advisor will serve to counsel and support the student or organization. The advisor can be quietly present and confer with the student or organizational representative. However, the advisor is not permitted to represent the student or group in a conduct proceeding.

Suspension will be the minimum conduct sanction assigned to any student organization or student for any violation of this Policy that causes death, serious physical harm, or substantial risk of serious physical harm—this conduct includes, but is not limited to:

  • Any activity that results in a need for medical attention at a hospital,
  • Any activity that involves high risk or binge drinking (i.e., 4 or more drinks in an hour),
  • Any activity that requires the consumption of food, liquid, alcohol, drugs, or any other substance and subjects an individual to an unreasonable risk of harm,
  • Any activity that involves exposure to elements without appropriate dress or for long periods of time, and
  • Any activity that involves using a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs or driving at high speeds.

Violations of this Policy are subject to referral to appropriate law enforcement, as well as to any regional and inter/national affiliated offices of student organizations (as applicable), for further action and prosecution.

Violations of this Policy by employees may result in corrective action or discipline (including termination) in accordance with applicable College policies.

B. Legal Penalties

In addition to penalties imposed by the College, individuals may also be criminally charged under state or federal law. Further, a victim of Hazing may file a civil action against one or more individuals or against an organization. (See Ohio Revised Code § 2307.44.) Such suits may result in civil penalties including monetary remedies.

Anti-Hazing Procedures

In addition to the procedures outlined in the Scot’s Key, in response to an incident or alleged
incident of Hazing, the College will:

Investigation: Upon receiving a report of Hazing, the College will, under the direction of the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities, initiate an investigation as described in this Policy and, where appropriate, notify an organization’s leaders, advisors, or coaches.

Interim Measures: The College will determine whether interim measures are needed to protect the safety and/or well-being of others. Interim measures may include suspension of organizational activities until an investigation and appropriate conduct resolution have concluded. Appropriate interested parties (leaders, advisors, coaches, volunteers, etc.) will be
notified of any interim measures.

Investigation: Upon receiving a report of alleged Hazing, the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities will assign the case to an appropriate investigator. As part of the investigation,
the College will:

  • Contact (if possible) the individual(s) who reported the Hazing.
  • Contact the individual(s) alleged to have perpetrated the Hazing.
  • Conduct interviews with all parties, including victim(s), the accused student(s), and any witness(es).

The investigator may, at their discretion, ask victim(s) to undergo a physical examination by a campus health center staff member or other appropriate health care professional, if allegations of physical abuse are part of the hazing investigation.

The investigator will provide a written investigative report to the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities.

The College will make every effort to complete the initial investigation within a period of thirty (30) business days (excluding periods when the College is closed), barring extenuating circumstances.

Falsifying, distorting, intentionally omitting, or misrepresenting information is a violation of the Code of Student Conduct.

Acts of retaliation or interference with the investigative process will be treated as further violations of College policy and adjudicated accordingly.

4. Disposition & Adjudication.

  • Following an investigation, adjudication and hearing procedures shall be conducted pursuant to the Code of Student Conduct.
  • The Director of Campus Safety will notify the appropriate law enforcement agency or agencies and document that the notification was made.
  • A small body, typically comprised of the Vice President for Student Affairs, Vice President for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, the Title IX Coordinator, the Director of Campus Safety, and Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities will review the report to identify intersections with other types of policy violations (i.e.: Title IX, Civil Rights, or employee misconduct).
  • A summary report of any substantiated violations of this Policy, providing a description of the events, the names of any individuals (as permitted by FERPA) or organizations involved, and a description of any actions taken by the College will be maintained by the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities and included in the College’s bi-annual report, which is described below in Section VI.C.

5. Reporting Requirements

a. Reporting Hazing

Report Hazing by contacting any of the following:

  • Director of Student Rights & Responsibilities 330-263-2501,
  • Director of Student Engagement 330-263-2062,
  • Dean of Students 330-263-2545,
  • Campus Safety 330-263-2590, campus-safety

Anonymous reports of Hazing can be submitted online here.

In the event of an emergency, call 911 or contact Campus Safety at 330-263-2590.

b. Duty to Report

All College community members have a responsibility to report suspected Hazing.

Immediately upon learning of potential hazing, all administrators, employees, faculty, staff, student employees, teaching assistants, consultants, volunteers, and alumni have a duty to report violations of this Policy.

In addition to the duty to report hazing as identified in the prior paragraph, if the conduct is reasonably believed to include criminal conduct, individuals have a duty to report such criminal conduct to law enforcement.

c. The College’s Duty to Report

The Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities will create and maintain a website that provides a report of substantiated violations of this Policy in accordance with the requirements of Ohio Revised Code § 3345.19(D), consistent with the College’s privacy policy and the requirements of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974.

The College will report violations of this Policy to law enforcement, when appropriate.

d. Amnesty

The College recognizes that students may be reluctant to report Hazing activities due to possible personal consequences. Therefore, a student who, in good faith, reports Hazing activity to the College and cooperates fully both with an investigation and with the conduct process might not be subject to sanctions related to their own participation in Hazing activity. The determination of the use of Hazing amnesty is at the sole discretion of the College.

If the College has reason to believe that a student has continued to engage in Hazing behaviors or has knowledge of behaviors that are not reported, the student may be held accountable for those behaviors. It is important to note that Hazing amnesty does not shield the student from criminal or civil action taken by law enforcement outside the College.

6. Training and Education
The College will provide at least one program annually on Hazing prevention education to all members, prospective members, and anyone who is employed by or volunteers with any Student Organizations or Groups. The education may be provided in person, electronically, or both. The College will maintain a record of individuals who have completed the training.