What is Hazing?

According to the National Collaborative for Hazing Research and Prevention, based out of the University of Maine, hazing is defined as:

any activity expected of someone joining or participating in a group that humiliates, degrades, abuses, or endangers them regardless of a person’s willingness to participate.

In addition HazingPrevention.org, the national organization working to empower people to prevent hazing in college and university student groups, defines hazing as:

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

Facts about Hazing

Data taken from the the national study Hazing in View: Students at Risk conducted by Elizabeth Allan, Ph.D. and Mary Madden, Ph.D. from the University of Maine, the Alfred University HS hazing study conducted by Hoover and Pollard, published in 2000, and Information compiled by Hank Nuwer.


The concept of Hidden Harm has to do with the fact that we don't know everything about the newest members of our organizations. We don't even know EVERYTHING about our best friends. Someone who has just joined an organization or team could have a hidden background that would make them highly susceptible to serious repercussions if hazed. Hazing can be physically or psychologically harmful to even perfectly healthy individuals, but mix hazing with any one of numerous issues individuals may be dealing with, and the damage can increase exponentially. (HazingPresention.org, Hidden Harm of Hazing)



Examples of Hazing

Hazing can encompass a broad range of actions or activities which do no contribute to the positive development of a person; or which inflicts or intends to cause physical or mental harm or anxiety; or which may demean, degrade, or disgrace any person, regardless of location, intent or consent of participants. This includes, but is not limited to:

This world of ours... must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect. - Dwight D. Eisenhower

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