Implications of Hazing

The impacts of hazing are far-reaching, for individuals being hazed, those engaging in hazing activities and the organizations they belong to.

For the Person Being Hazed

Hazing is a complicated act.  The media shares stories regarding the worst possible outcome of hazing, death.  While most acts of hazing have less severe, they still may have significant and long-lasting consequences. More than two of every three people who experience hazing report suffering from negative consequences.  These consequences may include:

  • Erosion of trust within the group members
  • Physical, emotional, and/or mental instability
  • Loss of respect for and interest in being part of the organization
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Loss of sense of control and empowerment
  • Relationships with friends, significant others, and family suffer
  • Post-traumatic stress syndrome
  • Illness or hospitalization with additional effects on family and friends

Hazing, like other forms of abuse, has its roots in the power and control of one person or group over others.  Someone who has been hazed is more likely to haze others in the future.

For Those Who Haze

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

Legal and Criminal Liability

Any person who is subjected to hazing, may commence a civil action for injury or damages, including mental and physical pain and suffering, that result from the hazing.

The action may be brought against any participants in the hazing, any organization whose local or national directors, trustees, or officers authorized, requested, commanded, or tolerated the hazing, and any local or national director, trustee, or officer of the organization who authorized, requested, commanded, or tolerated the hazing. The negligence or consent of the student or any assumption of the risk by the student is not a defense to an action brought pursuant to this section.

The penalty for recklessly participating in the hazing of another person – or for recklessly permitting the hazing of another person in the case of administrators, employees, faculty members, teachers, consultants, alumni, or volunteers – will be a fourth-degree misdemeanor. This means that the potential penalty is 90 days in jail and/or a fine of $750.

The penalties are more severe for hazing incidents which involve “coerced consumption of alcohol or drugs of abuse resulting in serious physical harm to that person.” Hazing incidents in this category may result in a third-degree felony charge for the hazing participants, as well as those who recklessly permit hazing involving coerced consumption. In these cases, offenders face a prison sentence and/or a fine of $10,000. 

College of Wooster Response 

The Scot’s Key outlines the policies prohibiting hazing. Those who are found responsible for hazing face sanctions which may range from participating in educational programming to separation from the College (suspension or expulsion). Individuals and groups will also be held accountable for other, related policy violations, where appropriate.

The Ohio Law requires that acts of hazing are reported to the police.

Membership and Organizational Sanctions

Student organizations may suspend or terminate officer duties and/or membership.

Teams may suspend athletes’ privileges or remove a student from a team.

Organizations or teams may lose privileges or be de-chartered.

Personal impact

In addition to being accountable to the organization and or the College, those that haze may experience the following:

  • Decline in grades and coursework
  • Relationships with friends, significant others, and family suffer
  • 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 Found Responsible for Hazing

By participating in hazing, not only are individuals affected but the organization or team also suffers. In addition to the organization or team being shut down, the following outcomes may result when members of an organization or team participate in hazing:

  • Loss of reputation within the College community
  • Loss of recognition for the organization and/or other privileges revoked
  • Suspension of the team and/or loss of privileges
  • Organizational leaders may be held responsible
  • A gradual erosion of the true meaning and values of the organization