Hazing Definitions

Hazing terms & examples

Per the Indiana University Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, & Conduct, “Hazing is defined as any conduct that subjects another person, whether physically, mentally, emotionally, or psychologically, to anything that may endanger, abuse, degrade, or intimidate the person as a condition of association with a group or organization, regardless of the person’s consent or lack of consent.”

The Office of Student Conduct investigates reports received for any behavior that may be determined to be in violation of the University’s Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, & Conduct. When investigating, the Office of Student Conduct may consider the following: time, manner, nature of the behaviors, intention behind behaviors, etc.

The items listed below include, but are not limited to, areas that may meet the University’s definition of hazing, or other University code violations. Some behaviors may be categorized in numerous categories.

Consumption: Consumption may include but is not limited to eating, drinking, inhaling, snorting, and inserting any substance. Substances may include but are not limited to food, alcoholic beverages, non-alcoholic beverages, water, drugs, and any mixture of substances. Consumption may or may not occur as a result of being physically forced, directed to, feeling pressured to, or being coerced by affiliated members either directly or indirectly.

Disproportionate Responsibilities: Requirements of tasks or duties for new or potential members that are not required of initiated members or are required at a frequency that is greater than initiated members. Disproportionate responsibilities may include but are not limited to cleaning, working at organization events* (e.g. sober monitors, designated sober drivers), subjecting members to unusual or unnecessary rules (e.g. pledge roles, carrying pledge packs), surrendering personal items (e.g. wallets, cell phones), and fundraising. When new members are required and are the sole contributors to the fundraising effort, this may constitute disproportionate responsibilities. The Greek Organization Agreement further outlines provisions for social events, including that the majority of sober monitors must not be first-year members.

Humiliation and Degradation: Any guideline, rule, or required behavior in which the intent or objective is to embarrass, mock, chastise, and/or diminish a member or members as a condition of membership. Examples of humiliation and degradation may include but are not limiting to calling a member by a name that is not their own (e.g. requiring a person to use a fake name, referring to a person as “pledge”), subjecting members to unusual or unnecessary rules (e.g. pledge roles, wearing specific clothing and/or costumes, required periods of silence), body shaming, yelling, and name-calling. The use of the word “pledge” or “associate member” is not problematic in and of itself; the time and manner in which the term is used is important to consider when applying this definition.

Intimidation: Verbal, non-verbal, and/or written behaviors in which members are reasonably fearful for their personal health, safety, well-being, and/or membership. Examples of intimidation may include, but are not limited to, a “penalty” or “strike” process that will result in termination of membership for failure to complete arbitrary expectations or requirements.

Mental and Emotional Duress: Any guideline, rule, or required behavior that negatively impacts a member’s mental and/or emotional state. Examples may include, but are not limited to, requiring members to endure hardships such as isolation, sleep deprivation, completing menial tasks, being yelled at, name-calling, being provided little to no notice for required attendance at an event or meeting, or subjecting members to unusual or unnecessary rules (e.g. pledge roles).

Obstructing and Endangering the Academic Process: Activities or behaviors that impact a student’s ability to be successful in their academic process. These activities may or may not include being required to miss any academic obligation (e.g. class), completing academic work for others, and/or modifying a member’s routine in such a way that they are unable to reasonably complete their academic commitments.

Personal Servitude: Activities performed for the benefit of initiated members and/or groups of members, which may include but are not limited to wake-up calls, driving, performing tasks, running errands, purchasing food, and cleaning. These activities may or may not include getting a “signature” of an initiated member for having completed the activity.

Physical Exercise, Exertion, and Labor: Physical behaviors may include but are not limited to running, wall-sits, push-ups, sit-ups, and/or standing for extended periods of time. Physical labor may include but are not limited to assembling, painting, or fixing structures (e.g. elevated surfaces, tables) for member and/or organization use. These physical behaviors may or may not occur as a punishment or result for not meeting other requirements of membership.

Physical Abuse: Physical abuse behaviors may include but are not limited to hitting, slapping, punching, kicking, choking, pushing, paddling, throwing items at an individual, and/or directing an individual to complete an activity that would reasonably cause injury to a person. The University’s definition of physical abuse is found in Section II. Responsibilities, H20.

Restriction of Freedom: Any guideline or rule, whether required or suggested, that limits, bans, and/or impedes upon a member’s ability to function in the same manner as any other member for any given period of time for the primary purpose of restriction. Restriction of freedom may include but is not limited to blindfolding, binding of body parts, dictating who members can or cannot speak to, limiting use of facilities (e.g. doors or staircases), and confining members to small and/or enclosed spaces. Restrictions of a member’s freedom that results from internal judicial processes or participation in events with ritual based on membership status may not apply to this definition.

Sleep Deprivation and Schedule Modification: Any behavior that endangers individual health and safety and/or disrupts the academic process. These behaviors may include but are not limited to late-night activities, early-morning activities, requirement to stay awake for long durations of time, little to no notice given for required attendance at an event or meeting, being required to be at the chapter facility or designated space for a substantial amount of time (e.g. every day when not in class), and/or any combination of activities that limit a person’s ability to get the recommended amount of sleep. When new members are required to sleep at a chapter facility, in a designated space that is not their normal bedroom, and/or in a space all-together, this may constitute sleep deprivation and schedule modification.

Sexual Abuse and Harassment: Any unwelcome conduct or behavior of a sexual nature that creates or contributes to a hostile environment. A hostile environment exists when conduct is sufficiently severe, pervasive, or persistent to limit or deny a person’s ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s educational programs or affects employment. Behaviors may include, but are not limited to, non-consensually viewing, sharing, gathering, possessing, or creating sexually explicit material (e.g. pornographic images obtained from the internet or from personal interactions); sexually explicit behaviors (e.g. kissing, touching of intimate areas, genitals, breasts, buttocks, and/or digital, oral, vaginal, or anal penetration of any person); being forced to view partial or full nudity of another person (of the same or different gender); being forced to be partially or fully nude; being forced to engage in sexual acts or contact; and/or being forced to divulge information about a person’s sexual history. The University’s definition of harassment is found in Section II. Responsibilities, H18, and Sexual Misconduct Policy UA-03.

Hazing prevention and reporting

Hazing is strictly forbidden at Indiana University. If you have experienced hazing, witnessed hazing, or suspect someone you know has been hazed, report it. Your decision will make campus a safer place for everyone.