Information on Hazing 

A Word: "Hazing"
Greek Life is a ripe opportunity for any student to immerse him- or herself in the experience of Westminster College.  There can be tangible benefits academically, an enhanced social consciousness via community service/philanthropy, and of course increased social networking via a new group of brothers or sisters.  The system is well-intentioned and often accomplishes these goals, but it is important to know what is and is not appropriate in the name of membership with one of our Greek-Letter Organizations.

Hazing is a word with plenty of connotations, and the popular notion of its definition is far too narrow to be functional.  At the highest national level, all of our fraternities at Westminster subscribe to a universal definition of hazing.  This common terminology provides a great standard, but what does it mean?

It means that you should have certain expectations as to how our Greek organizations treat their members.  Many times, the word ?hazing? conjures images of a young man duct taped to a chair, being paddled, or being forced to drink alcohol in dangerous amounts.  Indeed, there have been over fifty hazing deaths over the last eighteen months in this country; these have been borne of the serious and violent hazing that results in disaster.

But hazing is more than paddling.  It is any behavior that makes someone feel isolated or unfairly treated.  Examples include all of the following:
  • Forced road trips off campus, kidnaps of pledged or initiated members;
  • Any form of forced physical activities and exercise, whether extreme or not;
  • Scavenger hunts, whether or not such hunts promote theft, vandalism, and humiliating public acts;
  • Paddling or any other striking, beating, or hitting;
  • Kidnappings; transporting a pledged or initiated member against his or her will;
  • All-night work or study sessions;
  • Forcing or requiring pledged or initiated members to ingest any liquid or solid matter, edible or non-edible;
  • Requiring pledged or initiated members to wear unusual, conspicuous, embarrassing, or uncomfortable clothing, or clothing that is not normally considered to be in good taste;
  • Uncomfortable or inconvenient sleeping arrangements, including sleeping outdoors;
  • Pledged member-initiated member games designed to physically harm members of the pledge class;
  • Pledged member shows performed in front of brothers or sisters;
  • Sleep deprivation;
  • Humiliation in front of non-members;
  • Verbal abuse and/or yelling and screaming at pledged members;
  • Line-ups of the pledge class, or grilling individuals or groups of pledged members with questions of any kind;
  • Forcing an individual to participate in any activity or become involved in any situation that is in violation of federal, state or local laws; contrary to the person 's genuine moral or religious beliefs; or contrary to the rules and regulations of the educational institution or the national fraternity;
  • Public stunts of buffoonery and/or tests of courage, bravery and stamina;
  • Any situation that risks serious harm or damage to an individual, whether physical or mental;
  • Any activity that might reasonably bring physical harm to the individual;
  • Any activity that would degrade or otherwise compromise the dignity of the individual;
  • Any activity that requires an unreasonable or inordinate amount of the individual's time, or in any manner impairs the individual's academic efforts;
  • Any activity that makes the individual an object of amusement or ridicule;
  • Memorization of stories, poems, or information not directly related to your fraternity;
  • Putting pledged members in a room that is uncomfortable (noise, temperature, too small) at any time;
  • Personal errands run by pledged members for initiated members (servitude);
  • Pledged members expected to do anything that initiated members will not do with them.

    These do not compose an exhaustive list of actions that constitute hazing.  Though some of these may not be as violent as paddling or beating, any form of hazing can swiftly lead to far more dangerous incidents. 
If you have questions about hazing in general or any aspect of Greek Life, feel free to contact Tara Fuller, Assistant Director of Residential and Greek Life at (573) 592-6047.  In addition, if you feel you know of a hazing incident on Westminster's campus, it can be a crime not to report it.  Please call the Greek Life office at (573) 592-5242, if you have any concerns along this line.