What is Hazing?
Hazing is any situation created or action taken- for the purpose of initiation, admission into, affiliation with or as a condition for continued membership in an organization- which meets one or more of the criteria below. Hazing can be intentional or unintentional, and can occur with or without consent.
Situations/actions that constitute hazing are:
- Negligent or reckless in nature; or
- Potentially harmful to Physical safety/health, Psychological well-being, Academic Success, or Property; or
- Not reflective of the University or organization’s mission, purpose or values.
Examples of Hazing
Such activities and situations may include, but are not limited to:
- Physical or psychological shocks;
- Sleep or food deprivation;
- Expected consumption of food, water, alcohol, or drugs;
- Kidnapping or abandonment;
- Line-ups or berating;
- Morally degrading behavior;
- Any form of personal servitude;
- Expected wearing, publicly or privately, of apparel and/or objects which are not appropriate for the occasion;
- Interference with academic pursuits; or
- Expected participation in activities that are illegal, or violate Tufts University policy.
Tufts Anti-Hazing Policy and State Law
The Tufts policy prohibiting hazing is in the Student Code of Conduct. University consequences for hazing include suspension and expulsion for individual students and temporary or permanent loss of recognition for student organizations, as outlined in the Student Conduct Resolution Procedure.
Tufts University pursues all allegations of hazing by a student group, team, or organization. Tufts is dedicated to providing a safe and supportive learning environment that enables students to pursue transformational experiences. Hazing is a serious violation of Tufts’ community standards; it is antithetical to our educational mission and violates our shared obligation to respect one another.
What does Massachusetts law say about hazing?
Massachusetts General Law 269, Section 17, 18, and 19
Whoever is a principal organizer or participant in the crime of hazing, as defined herein, shall be punished by a fine of not more than three thousand dollars or by imprisonment in a house of correction for not more than one year, or both such fine and imprisonment.
The term “hazing” as used in this section and in sections eighteen and nineteen, shall mean any conduct or method of initiation into any student organization, whether on public or private property, which willfully or recklessly endangers the physical or mental health of any student or other person. Such conduct shall include whipping, beating, branding, forced calisthenics, exposure to the weather, forced consumption of any food, liquor, beverage, drug or other substance, or any other brutal treatment or forced physical activity which is likely to adversely affect the physical health or safety of any such student or other person, or which subjects such student or other person to extreme mental stress, including extended deprivation of sleep or rest or extended isolation.
Notwithstanding any other provisions of this section to the contrary, consent shall not be available as a defense to any prosecution under this action.
Whoever knows that another person is the victim of hazing as defined in section seventeen and is at the scene of such crime shall, to the extent that such person can do so without danger or peril to himself or others, report such crime to an appropriate law enforcement official as soon as reasonably practicable. Whoever fails to report such crime shall be punished by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars.
Each institution of secondary education and each public and private institution of post secondary education shall issue to every student group, student team or student organization which is part of such institution or is recognized by the institution or permitted by the institution to use its name or facilities or is known by the institution to exist as an unaffiliated student group, student team or student organization, a copy of this section and sections seventeen and eighteen; provided, however, that an institution’s compliance with this section’s requirements that an institution issue copies of this section and sections seventeen and eighteen to unaffiliated student groups, teams or organizations shall not constitute evidence of the institution’s recognition or endorsement of said unaffiliated student groups, teams or organizations.
Each such group, team or organization shall distribute a copy of this section and sections seventeen and eighteen to each of its members, plebes, pledges or applicants for membership. It shall be the duty of each such group, team or organization, acting through its designated officer, to deliver annually, to the institution an attested acknowledgement stating that such group, team or organization has received a copy of this section and said sections seventeen and eighteen, that each of its members, plebes, pledges, or applicants has received a copy of sections seventeen and eighteen, and that such group, team or organization understands and agrees to comply with the provisions of this section and sections seventeen and eighteen.
Each institution of secondary education and each public or private institution of post secondary education shall, at least annually, before or at the start of enrollment, deliver to each person who enrolls as a full time student in such institution a copy of this section and sections seventeen and eighteen.
Each institution of secondary education and each public or private institution of post secondary education shall file, at least annually, a report with the board of higher education and in the case of secondary institutions, the board of education, certifying that such institution has complied with its responsibility to inform student groups, teams or organizations and to notify each full time student enrolled by it of the provisions of this section and sections seventeen and eighteen and also certifying that said institution has adopted a disciplinary policy with regard to the organizers and participants of hazing, and that such policy has been set forth with appropriate emphasis in the student handbook or similar means of communicating the institution’s policies to its students. The board of higher education and, in the case of secondary institutions, the board of education shall promulgate regulations governing the content and frequency of such reports, and shall forthwith report to the attorney general any such institution which fails to make such report.
If you become aware of or suspect hazing, whether you experienced it yourself or want to report it as a concern, there are a number of ways to report it:
- Consult briana Sevigny, Director of Community Standards, by calling 617-627-3158
- Contact the Tufts University Police Department by calling 617-627-3030 or 617-627-6911 (emergency)
- Report an incident or concern online to the Office of Community Standards
- Submit information on EthicsPoint, the anonymous, confidential reporting system used by Tufts
- National Hazing Prevention Week, September 18–22