Hazing

Haverford College prohibits hazing as a form of harassment. Hazing is defined as any act committed against someone joining or becoming a member or maintaining membership in any organization that is humiliating, intimidating or demeaning, or endangers the health and safety of the person.  Hazing includes active or passive participation in such acts and occurs regardless of the willingness to participate in the activities.  Hazing creates an environment/climate in which dignity and respect are absent; any action or situation created intentionally, whether on or off campus premises, to produce mental or physical discomfort, embarrassment, harassment, or ridicule.

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 organization or team
  • whether new or not
  • regardless of the person’s willingness to participate

To help clarify whether or not a group activity is hazing, consider the following questions:

  • Would I feel comfortable participating in this activity if my parents were watching?
  • Would I get in trouble if the Dean (Athletic Director, President, Provost, Faculty Member or any other member of the Haverford community) 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 Haverford College?
  • Is it causing emotional distress or stress of any kind to myself or others?
  • Is there a risk of injury or question of safety?
  • Would I object to the activity being photographed for the school newspaper or filmed by the local television news crew?
  • Is alcohol involved?

Even if there is no malicious intent, safety may still be a factor in traditional hazing activities that are considered “all in good fun.”  In states that have laws against hazing, such as the state of Pennsylvania, consent of the victim cannot be used as a defense in a civil suit.  Consent is not a defense because a participant’s agreement to participate in a potentially hazardous activity may not be true consent when considering peer pressure and the desire to be part of a group.

The Anti-Hazing Law of Pennsylvania states that any person who causes or participates in hazing commits a third-degree misdemeanor.  It also includes the willful destruction or removal of public or private property in its definition of hazing. Aside from the legal aspect of hazing, the College believes that hazing is contrary to the Quaker values of individual dignity and tolerance upon which Haverford was founded.

Individuals found guilty of hazing may be placed on probation, suspended or dismissed from a team or organization.  Athletic teams may be placed on probation, have a season suspended, or be disbanded, and groups may be denied access to campus services and resources. Other penalties also may be appropriately issued.

Students who feel that they have been victims or witnesses of hazing should consult their dean, the Dean of the College, an EEOC Officer, the Title IX Coordinator or other administrator for guidance.

Last modified: September 4, 2013