Hazing Definitions
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  • Hidden HarmWhat is hazing?

    Hazing is any action taken or situation created intentionally:

    • that causes embarrassment, harassment or ridicule
    • risks emotional and/or physical harm
    • to members of an group or team
    • whether new or not
    • regardless of the person's willingness to participate

    Still confused? Ask yourself these questions:

    • Would I feel comfortable participating in this activity if my parents were watching?
    • Would we get in trouble if the Dean of Students walked by?
    • Am I being asked to keep these activities a secret?
    • Am I doing anything illegal?
    • Does participation violate my values or those of my organization?
    • Is it causing emotional distress or stress of any kind to myself or others?
    • If someone were injured, would I feel comfortable being investigated by the insurance carrier?
    • When I apply for jobs, can I take the onus of having a criminal arrest on my record?

    An excellent article about the complex nature of hazing was published by Diverse Issues in Higher Education (2009). » Read the article.

  • What’s “bystander behavior?”

    Bystander behavior is what people demonstrate when they watch hazing occur without intervening.

    » Check out this excellent resource on Bystander Behavior developed from the University of Maine hazing study.

    What’s the difference between hazing and bullying?

    The difference between hazing and bullying is subtle. The same power dynamics are involved. The same intimidation tactics are used. The same second-class citizenship issues arise. The only real difference between bullying and hazing is that bullying can happen to anyone, anytime and is used as a means to exclude someone. Hazing is an instrument of including people by having them earn their way into a group, occurring only in the context of being new to an organization, team or group. Bullying is about exclusion; hazing, inclusion.

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