Hazing Prevention and Response

The University of Texas at Austin is committed to providing a safe educational environment for everyone and does not tolerate hazing by any group or individual affiliated with the University.

UT students should expect all student organizations to treat them with respect and dignity. Hazing has no place in the Longhorn experience or student organization culture.

Hazing Myths vs. Facts

Myth
If someone agrees to participate in an activity, it can't be considered hazing.
Fact
Under state law and UT policy, the fact that a person consented to a hazing activity is not a defense. The peer pressure and desire to belong in a student organization can create a coercive environment where true consent cannot be given.
Myth
A little hazing should be okay, as long as there's no mean-spirited or harmful intent.
Fact
Hazing is illegal under Texas state law and violates University policy. It does not become okay, legal or permissible if no harm is intended.
Myth
Hazing builds unity among new members.
Fact
Engaging in unlawful behavior is not the way to build unity. In fact, 94.4% of UT students believe that they do not need to be hazed to feel like they belong to a group.
Myth
Hazing is okay as long as it is not physically dangerous.
Fact
Hazing is not just dangerous because it can cause physical harm. Hazing can also cause mental and emotional distress both to the person hazing, and the one being hazed. 90.5% of UT students believe that hazing is a problem because it can cause emotional harm.
Myth
Hazing only exists in sororities and fraternities.
Fact
Hazing incidents can happen in any club or student organization, including athletic teams, ROTC/military associations, performing arts groups, faith-based organizations, and student government.

What is Hazing?

Hazing, as defined in the Prohibition of Hazing means any intentional, knowing, or reckless act, occurring on or off of the campus of an educational institution, by one person alone or acting with others, directed against a person, that endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a person for the purpose of pledging, being initiated into, affiliating with, holding office in, or maintaining membership in any organization whose members are primarily students at an educational institution. Hazing includes but is not limited to

  1. any type of physical brutality, such as whipping, beating, striking, branding, electric shocking, placing of a harmful substance in or on the body, or similar activity;
  2. any type of physical activity, such as sleep deprivation, exposure to the elements, confinement in a small space, calisthenics, or other activity that subjects the person to an unreasonable risk of harm or that adversely affects the mental or physical health or safety of the person;
  3. any activity involving consumption of a food, liquid, alcoholic beverage, liquor, drug, or other substance that subjects the person to an unreasonable risk of harm or that adversely affects the mental or physical health or safety of the person;
  4. any activity that intimidates or threatens the person with ostracism, that subjects the person to extreme mental stress, shame, or humiliation, that adversely affects the mental health or dignity of the person or discourages the person from entering or remaining registered in an educational institution, or that may reasonably be expected to cause a person to leave the organization or the institution rather than submit to acts described in this subsection;
  5. any activity that intends to demean or embarrass a person, regardless of whether that person agrees or consents to the activity, including but not limited to skits or roasts at the expense of a person; wearing attire that is embarrassing and not a part of a uniform; requiring a person to act as a personal servant; forced recitation of facts, songs, or chants, or similar activity.
  6. any activity that induces, causes, or requires the person to perform a duty or task that involves a violation of the Penal Code. See Texas Education Code, Section 37.151(6) for more information.

Examples of Hazing

Hazing includes a range of activities that can be intimidating, harassing or violent. Any form of hazing, as described in university policy, is prohibited. Statistics show that hazing activities that are intimidating or harassing happen more often in organizations, but often go unrecognized as hazing. Hazing activities that are violent occur less often in organizations, however they are more likely to be recognized as hazing.

Intimidation

  • Lies, tricks or dishonesty,
  • Assigning demerits,
  • Silence periods with implied threats for violation,
  • Socially isolating new members,
  • Demeaning names, and
  • Expecting someone to have certain items with them at all times.

Harassment

  • Verbal abuse,
  • Threats or implied threats,
  • Asking new members to wear embarrassing clothes,
  • Asking new members to act as personal servants to current members,
  • Skit nights with degrading or humiliating acts,
  • Requiring new members to recite facts, songs or chants,
  • Sleep deprivation, and
  • Sexual simulations.

Violence

  • Forced or coerced consumption of food, drink, alcohol or drugs,
  • Beating paddling, or other forms of physical assault,
  • Branding,
  • Forced ingestion of vile substances,
  • Abduction or "kidnaps," and
  • Sexual assault.

Allan, 2015 – adapted from Bringing in the Bystander, Prevention Innovations