Office of Rights and Responsibilities

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Hazing – Policy and Protocol

Hazing Defined

Hazing is defined as any activity expected of someone joining or participating in a group that humiliates, degrades, abuses or endangers a person, regardless of the person's willingness to participate.

  • All acts of hazing by any individual student or University student club, group, organization or team and any of its members or alumni are prohibited.
  • The express or implied consent of the victim will not be a defense against hazing. 
  • Apathy or acquiescence in the presence of hazing is not a neutral act but a violation of the hazing policy.

Accountability

Hazing is prohibited and any member failing to comply with this policy may be subject to action through the Office of Rights and Responsibilities. Any student or organization found to be involved in hazing activity may face conduct action and be subject to sanctions including  but not limited to warning, educational workshops, service, probation, revocation or denial of recognition or registration for a student group or organization, suspension and dismissal/removal from the University. Individuals who participate in acts of hazing are personally accountable under the Standards of Conduct and the hazing policy, regardless of the outcome of any related case brought against a student group or organization. 

Responsibility

All members of the Willamette community share the responsibility to challenge and report hazing. Any alleged hazing incident should be reported to the Office of Rights and Responsibilities; the reporting individual's identity can be kept private. Good faith efforts made by groups and individuals to self-report and stop hazing will be considered mitigating circumstances during conduct processes.

You can help make Willamette free from hazing by doing the following:

  1. Before joining a group/organization at Willamette, be certain that you and the organization’s leadership have signed a statement in support of maintaining the dignity and respect of all community members, pledging not to accept or engage in hazing.
  2. If you think you have been asked to participate in an activity that may be considered hazing, please contact the Willamette administrator responsible for the organization (advisor, coach, coordinator, staff /faculty member) or the Office of Rights and Responsibilities. A careful evaluation of the activity can be made to ensure its appropriateness.
  3. To report hazing, contact the Office Rights and Responsibilities at 503-370-6212.

When evaluating if an activity involves hazing, use the following questions as a guide. A negative response to a question may indicate hazing and the activity should be changed if necessary.

  • Is this activity an educational experience?
  • Does the activity uphold and promote the purpose, goals, and values of the group?
  • Will this activity increase respect for the group and current members?
  • Is it an activity new and current members participate in together?
  • Does the activity have value in and of itself?
  • Would you be able to defend the activity in a court of law?
  • Would you be willing to allow family members to witness this activity? The university president? Your professors?
  • Does the activity meet both the spirit and letter of the standards prohibiting hazing?

Examples

The Standards of Conduct prohibit many activities that may be associated with hazing, such as illegal alcohol use and abuse, vandalism, theft, verbal or physical abuse or threat of harm, sexual harassment, and other forms of harassment. In addition to those activities and conduct expressly prohibited, examples of prohibited individual/group activities that may constitute hazing include but are not limited to the following:

  • Any activities that interfere with academics
  • A new member activity in which active members do not participate. In any given activity, there should be both new and returning members participating in the same manner (i.e. not watching new members clean, dance, etc.)
  • Activities or conditions that deprive individuals of basic needs including but not limited to sleep, food, water, use of bathroom facilities, and contact with family and friends.
  • Any form of questioning under pressure or in an uncomfortable position. Ergo a new member should not be verbally abused after missing a question.
  • Mandatory workouts - while working out may be "healthy," there are risks associated with making someone work out. If someone is injured, the group will be liable. This does not apply to formal athletic team activities for skill and performance development and improvement  
  • Requiring new members to wear costumes, wear the same clothing item(s),  or  perform embarrassing activities
  • Mandatory silence periods
  • Requiring new members to call active members Mr., Miss, etc. New members and initiated members should be referred to in the same manner
  • Requiring new members to perform personal service to active members such as carrying books, running errands, performing clean-up duties, etc.
  • Encouraging the use of alcohol or other drugs, including the use of alcohol in drinking games or contests
  • Forced consumption of alcohol or other substances
  • Engaging in or simulating sexual acts
  • Threatening or causing physical restraint
  • Throwing substances or objects at individuals
  • Blindfolding, paddling, nudity, shaving, tattooing, piercing or branding
  • Stealing of any kind; theft or misuse of property belonging to others

Passive participation in hazing may include:

  • Witnessing hazing taking place as a group member, affiliate or guest
  • Participating in or being present in person or via technology in discussions where hazing is planned

Retaliation

Retaliating directly or indirectly against a person who has in good faith filed, supported, or participated in an investigation of a complaint of hazing as defined above is prohibited. Retaliation includes but is not limited to ostracizing the person, pressuring the person to drop or not support the complaint or provide false or misleading information, or otherwise engaging in conduct that may reasonably be perceived to affect adversely that person's educational, living, or work environment. Depending on the circumstances, retaliation may also be unlawful, whether or not the complaint is ultimately found to have merit.

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