Office of Rights and Responsibilities

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Hazing – Policy and Procedures

Hazing Defined

Hazing is any conduct that subjects another person to humiliation, degradation, abuse, intimidation, harassment, or endangerment of mental or physical health or safety as a condition of association with a group, regardless of the person’s willingness to participate. Acts of hazing by groups, individuals, or alumni are prohibited. Apathy or acquiescence in the presence of hazing are not neutral acts but violations 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 or 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. 

Amnesty

It is in the best interest of this community that students choose to report hazing, and that witnesses come forward to share what they know. To encourage reporting, students who report possible hazing activity and who cooperate as witnesses in an investigation or disciplinary process will not be subject to university sanctions for their own conduct, unless the reporting students’ conduct contributed to causing harm.

To ensure the safety of our community members, students who help other individuals receive medical intervention needed due to alcohol or other drug use will not be sanctioned for their personal consumption of alcohol or other drugs at or near the time of the reported incident, provided any such violations did not place the health or safety of any other person at risk. Educational resources regarding alcohol or other drugs will be offered as appropriate.

In some cases an individual may be both hazed by members of a group and also haze members of the group. If a student makes a self-report of behavior that contributed to harm, the act of self-reporting will be considered a mitigating factor in the conduct process. It is important to note that students who choose to report their own conduct under this policy may be liable for criminal or civil penalties that are beyond Willamette University’s control.

Anonymous Reporting

Incidents of hazing can be reported anonymously at:  http://willamette.edu/dept/campuslife

Responsibility

All members of the Willamette community share the responsibility to challenge and address hazing. At Willamette, where community members look out and care for one another, any alleged hazing incident should be reported; students can report anonymously or privately. Reporting individuals' names will not be shared with other members of the group. 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 University 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 the Willamette University Hazing Prevention Pledge.
  2. If you think you have been asked to participate in an activity that may be considered hazing, please report the situation by completing the Hazing Report Form at http://willamette.edu/dept/campuslife; this can be done anonymously.
  3. Step up and take action to help end inappropriate behavior before a bonding activity escalates into hazing activity.
  4. Speak out against hazing by discussing concerns with a group leader, a group advisor, or other Willamette staff member who can assist.
  5. Call Campus Safety at (503)-370-6911 (available 24 hours a day) if you encounter activities that put others in physical or psychological harm or discomfort. 

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 of Hazing

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

It is a violation of university policy to retaliate against any person making a complaint or perceived to be making a complaint of hazing, or cooperating in an investigation or hearing of alleged hazing. An individual reporting hazing is entitled to protection from any form of retaliation following a report that is made in good faith, even if the report is later not substantiated based on the available evidence. For the purpose of this policy retaliation includes, but is not limited to, behaviors or actions (including on-line activity) which intimidate, threaten, or harass, or result in other adverse actions threatened or taken, or that may reasonably be perceived to affect adversely that person's educational, living, or work environment.  Sanctions for retaliation may include, but are not limited to, warning, probation, suspension, or dismissal from the university.

Examples of Retaliation

  • Spreading negative rumors about an individual because the person reported hazing
  • Not allowing a person to participate in usual activities because of a perception the person reported hazing
  • Pressuring a person to not report hazing
  • Threatening a person to make the person drop or not support a complaint
  • Suggesting to or encouraging a person to provide false or misleading information

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