Inside the hot-button hazing issue: What constitutes an act of hazing?

Laurie Connelly, ’Doah Staff Writer
March 6, 2013

Hazing is defined in various ways, but in general, hazing pertains to an action that harms or humiliates a person involved in an organization. This can be a fraternity or sorority as well as athletics teams and the military.

The Fraternal Information Programming Group created a formal and detailed description of hazing that goes as follows: “Any action taken or situation created, intentionally, whether on or off fraternity premises, to produce mental or physical discomfort, embarrassment, harassment, or ridicule. Such activities may include but are not limited from the following: use of alcohol; paddling in any form; creation of excessive fatigue; physical and psychological shocks; quests, treasure hunts, scavenger hunts, road trips or any other such activities carried on outside or inside of the confines of the chapter house; wearing of public apparel which is conspicuous and not normally in good taste; engaging in public stunts and buffoonery; morally degrading or humiliating games and activities; and any other activities which are not consistent with fraternal law, ritual or policy or the regulations and policies of the educational institution.”

Virginia’s hazing law states, “It shall be unlawful to haze, or otherwise mistreat so as to cause bodily injury, any student at any school, college, or university. Any person found guilty thereof shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor, unless the injury would be such as to constitute a felony, and in that event the punishment shall be inflicted as is otherwise provided by law for the punishment of such felony.

“Any person receiving bodily injury by hazing or mistreatment shall have a right to sue, civilly, the person or persons guilty thereof, whether adults or infants.” The president, or presiding official of the school, with valid proof, can also expel the student responsible and report them to the attorney of the commonwealth for that county or city. However, Virginia’s hazing law only pertains to physical hazing and makes no reference to emotional hazing of any kind.

For more information about hazing visit stophazing.org.

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