Hazing has many definitions, but ultimately, it is when a person is forced into doing something against their will that makes them uncomfortable or that is only asked of a specific group within an organization. We know that there is a persisting stereotype that fraternities and sororities and hazing go hand in hand.
Creighton has a Zero Tolerance Policy when it comes to hazing. If you, or someone that you know, is ever put in a compromising situation, please notify a member of one of the governing councils, someone in the Student Leadership and Involvement Center, or someone in the Office of Community Standards and Wellbeing, and we will rectify the situation.
The University strictly prohibits hazing - in any form, at any time - including hazing in connection with training, indoctrination, qualification for membership, functions or activities, or initiations conducted or sponsored by any student organization, athletic team, or group of students. Hazing includes any action taken or situation created, whether on or off campus, intended to produce or which may foreseeably produce unusual or unnecessary mental or physical discomfort or pain, embarrassment, harassment, ridicule or risk of physical, mental or emotional harm or injury.
Hazing also includes any action or situation which is intended to be or which may foreseeably be morally, physically, emotionally or mentally degrading to any individual, or which unnecessarily exposes any individual to any risk of physical, mental or emotional harm, injury or distress beyond the risks encountered in ordinary daily life, or which is intended to intimidate or has the effect of intimidating any individual to unwillingly or reluctantly engage in any activity, or which unreasonably interferes with scholastic activities or pursuits of any individual.
As examples, hazing includes, but is not limited to, any conduct or method of initiation into or participation in any student organization, athletic team, or other student group which willfully or recklessly endangers the physical or mental health of any student or other person, including, but again not limited to: whipping, beating, or branding; forced, coerced or required calisthenics or physically exerting activities; exposure to weather or the elements; forced, coerced or required consumption of any food, liquor, beverage, drug or other substance; any brutal or cruel treatment; and any activity which subjects any student or other person to extreme mental stress, including any extended deprivation of sleep or rest or extended isolation.
The University fully reserves to University officials the authority to interpret this policy, and to apply the policy as so interpreted, to the actions of University students and organizations, as University officials in their discretion deem appropriate under the circumstances.
Serious disciplinary action will be imposed by the University upon any student or student organization, athletic team, or group of students found in violation of this policy, up to and including revocation of the charter of, and/or withdrawal of University privileges from, a student organization, athletic team or student group and suspension or dismissal from the University of individual students determined to have violated this policy.
The state of Nebraska has made hazing a crime:
§ 28-311.06. Hazing, defined; penalty
- For purposes of this section and section 28-311.07
a. Hazing shall mean any activity by which a person intentionally or recklessly endangers the physical or mental health or safety of an individual for the purpose of initiation into, admission into, affiliation with, or continued membership with any organization as defined in subdivision (1)(b) of this section. Such hazing activity shall include whipping, beating, branding, forced and prolonged calisthenics, prolonged exposure to the elements, forced consumption of any food, liquor, beverage, drug, or harmful substance not generally intended for human consumption, prolonged sleep deprivation, or any brutal treatment or the performance of any unlawful act which endangers the physical or mental health or safety of any person; and
b. Organization shall mean an organization of student members operating under the sanction of a postsecondary educational institution but shall not include the alumni organization or any corporation which owns the house or real estate of such organization.
Penalties for a conviction of hazing can include:
- It shall be unlawful to commit the offense of hazing. Any person who commits the offense of hazing shall be guilty of a Class II misdemeanor.
- Any organization as defined in subdivision (1)(b) of this section whose members commit the offense of hazing in violation of the provisions of this section shall be punished by a fine of not more than ten thousand dollars.
Common Activities Viewed as Hazing
It’s very important that your organization and your membership are not partaking in any activities that could fall under the definition of hazing (this list is not exhaustive):
- Requiring only new members to wear specific types of clothing (suits, hats, etc.)
- Requiring new members to complete specific tasks
- Preventing members from talking to others
- All-night work or study sessions
- Uncomfortable or inconvenient sleeping arrangements
- Line-ups of the new members, or grilling individuals or groups of new members with questions of any kind
- Subjecting new members to roughhouse practices
- Putting new members in a room that is uncomfortable (noise, temperature, too small) at any time
- Keeping information from the new members prior to initiation (date of initiation, time commitments required as part of the new member process)
Sometimes it is hard to think about other ways to build brotherhood or sisterhood within your new member process; however there are numerous ways to make the new member process a positive, yet challenging, experience:
- DEVELOP CHAPTER UNITY OF BOTH NEW AND INITIATED MEMBERS: Involve new members on chapter committees, attend chapter meetings, hold sports events with mixed teams of new and initiated members, and have an all chapter/new member class retreat. Clean the chapter room together. New members work together on a community service/chapter improvement project.
- PROMOTE SCHOLARSHIP: Take advantage of University academic and tutoring services, designate quiet hours on your chapter’s halls, invite University speakers to discuss test-taking skills, study methods, etc.
- DEVELOP PROBLEM-SOLVING ABILITIES: Have new members discuss chapter weaknesses such as poor recruitment, apathy, and poor scholarship. These solutions should be shared with the initiated members. The new member class should then be involved in the implementation.
- DEVELOP SOCIAL SKILLS: Hold a seminar on table etiquette and other social graces; plan a seminar with college resources on effective communication skills, body language, eye contact, and other aspects of communicating.
- INSTILL A SENSE OF BROTHERHOOD OR SISTERHOOD: Plan special events when the entire chapter gets together, e.g., attend a movie, play, professional sports game, etc
- BUILD AWARENESS OF CHAPTER HISTORY: Invite an older alumna or alumnus to talk about the chapter’s early days, its founding, special chapter traditions, and prominent alumnae or alumni.
- DEVELOP LEADERSHIP: Assign each new member to a chapter committee. Expect the new member class to plan and implement its own activities. Encourage participation in campus activities outside of the sorority or fraternity. Have the new member class elect their own officers
- DEVELOP KNOWLEDGE OF THE FSL SYSTEM: Invite the Panhellenic, AMGO, IFC President or the FSL Advisor to speak on the FSL system, covering the purposes of fraternities and sororities, the regulations they formulate, and the goals and expectations of the FSL system.
- AID CAREER GOALS: Use college resources for seminars on resume writing, internships, the job search or job interview skills; invite different alumnae or alumni to speak on various careers.
- INVOLVE NEW MEMBERS IN THE COMMUNITY: Visit a nursing home or youth center to sing, play games, or just talk; get involved with Project Uplift or other Big Sister/Brother groups. Such involvement should continue well after initiation.
- IMPROVE RELATIONS WITH OTHER FSL MEMBERS: Have new member classes get together to plan joint social or service activities; new members plan a cookout with another new member class, followed by a sports activity (softball, volleyball, etc.).
- PROHIBIT ALL ALCOHOL: Since your new members almost certainly are underage, alcohol has no place in any new member activity and is specifically prohibited under the FIPG Policy and Creighton University FSL Event Guidelines.