What Is Hazing?

Hazing involves traditions or rituals expected of someone joining (or maintaining membership in) a group or organization that humiliate, degrade or harm the person, but that are usually framed as community or team building. In addition to harming the person being hazed, it damages the group, organization or team by undermining the cohesion it claims to build, and it damages the reputation of the entire university community. Regardless of the person's "willingness" to participate, hazing creates a cycle of humiliation, degradation or violence.

Let's Talk About Hazing Video ImageHazing is often associated with fraternities, but it is just as common on sports teams, in residences and in other groups or organizations. Understanding the mechanisms that perpetuate hazing traditions may help us make the change necessary to end the violence and humiliation in favour of initiation rituals that truly do build a stronger and better community.

Click here to read the University of Alberta's definition of Hazing.

Examples of Hazing

Subtle Hazing
  • Deception
  • Assigning demerits
  • Silence periods with implied threats for violation 
  • Deprivation of privileges granted to other members
  • Requiring new members/rookies to perform duties not assigned to other members
  • Socially isolating new members/rookies
  • Line-ups and Drills/Tests on meaningless information
  • Name calling
  • Requiring new members/rookies to refer to other members with titles (e.g. “Mr.,” “Miss”) while they are identified with demeaning termsExpecting certain items to always be in one's possession
Harassment
  • Verbal abuse 
  • Threats or implied threats 
  • Asking new members to wear embarrassing or humiliating attire 
  • Stunt or skit nights with degrading, crude, or humiliating acts 
  • Expecting new members/rookies to perform personal service to other members such as carrying books, errands, cooking, cleaning etc 
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Sexual simulations 
  • Expecting new members/rookies to be deprived of maintaining a normal schedule of bodily cleanliness. 
  • Be expected to harass others 
Violence
  • Forced or coerced alcohol or other drug consumption 
  • Beating, paddling, or other forms of assault 
  • Branding 
  • Forced or coerced ingestion of vile substances or concoctions 
  • Burning
  • Water intoxication 
  • Expecting abuse or mistreatment of animals 
  • Public nudity 
  • Expecting illegal activity 
  • Bondage 
  • Abductions/kidnaps 
  • Exposure to cold weather or extreme heat without appropriate protection 

Examples of hazing from stophazing.org