What is Hazing?

Hazing is:

Any activity expected of someone joining a group (or to maintain full status in a group) that humiliates, degrades, or risks emotional and/or physical harm, regardless of the person's willingness to participate.1

See text-only version here: https://studentaffairs.virginia.edu/subsite/hoos-against-hazing/it-hazing

Image posted with permission. See text-only version at Is it Hazing?

What kinds of groups haze?

Hazing can happen in any organization in which there is a hierarchy. Hazing exists in all types of student organizations: academic clubs, fraternities and sororities, marching bands, athletic teams, and many other groups. Hazing is far too common among college students, with 55% of those involved in clubs, teams, and organizations experiencing hazing.2

What does hazing look like?

Hazing can happen to anyone, at any point in one's membership experience, and can take many forms. Students may not recognize the most common forms of hazing, which contributes to underreporting.

See text-only version here: https://studentaffairs.dev8.uvaits.virginia.edu/subsite/hoos-against-hazing/spectrum-hazing-behaviors

Image posted with permission. See text-only version at The Spectrum of Hazing Behaviors Description.

If you're feeling uncomfortable with what you're being asked to do to join or maintain membership in a group, answering yes to any of the following questions may indicate hazing:

  • Are activities causing you emotional or physical distress?
  • Could pictures of this activity keep you from getting a job?
  • Would you feel uncomfortable if your family was watching?
  • Are there penalties for disclosing group secrets?

  1. Hoover, N., & Pollard, N. (1999). National survey: Initiation rites and athletics for NCAA sports teams. Accessed 18 April 2022.
  2. Allan, E.J. and Madden, M. (2008) Hazing in View: College Students at Risk.