As required by law, Tufts University must issue a copy of MGL c. 269, ss. 17, 18, & 19 to all recognized, registered student organizations, both funded and non-funded. Furthermore, your acknowledgement of these regulations also includes the responsibility for notifying all members and potential members of your organization of these statutes. You may do this by reading the statutes at a general meeting of your organization. The full statute can be found in the Tufts University Student Handbook.
Tufts prohibits hazing. Hazing is any activity that humiliates, degrades, or endangers the mental or physical health of someone because that person is joining or continuing membership in a group, team, or organization. Hazing is prohibited regardless of the person’s willingness to participate in the activity.
Hazing includes all behaviors that violate Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 269, Sections 17-19 (reproduced in their entirety below).
Endangering mental health is defined as sleep deprivation, extended isolation, public degradation, intimidation, creation of artificial and excessive stress, public nudity, and other comparable behaviors that are reasonably likely to or do cause a significant degree of distress, humiliation, anguish, or interference with academic, professional, or personal pursuits.
Apathy or acquiescence in the presence of hazing are not neutral acts and constitute hazing as prohibited by this policy. Students and other members of the University community are required to report incidents of hazing that they witness or for which they were present. Incidents of hazing shall be reported to Tufts University Police and the Dean of Student Affairs Office. Failure to report incidents of hazing is a violation of this policy and, in some cases, is a violation of Massachusetts law (M.G.L. c. 269 Section 18).
Any retaliation or threats to retaliate against any person who reports, is a witness to, is involved with, or cooperates with the investigation of hazing is strictly prohibited.
All groups, teams, and organizations are required to provide annual notice to all members about the University’s hazing policy and state hazing law, and to certify that they have done so to the Office for Campus Life, Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, or Dean of Student Affairs Office by established deadlines annually.
Research on hazing suggests the behavior exists on a spectrum ranging from intimidation to harassment to violent hazing. Prohibited forms of hazing include but are not limited to:
1. Intimidation Hazing: Behaviors that emphasize a power imbalance between new members and other members of the group or community. This is termed “intimidation hazing” because these types of hazing are often taken for granted or accepted as “harmless” or meaningless. Intimidation hazing typically involves activities or attitudes that breach reasonable standards of mutual respect and place new members on the receiving end of ridicule, embarrassment, and/or humiliation tactics. Members often feel the need to endure intimidation hazing to feel like part of the group or community.
Examples of intimidation hazing include but are not limited to:
- Silence periods
- Deprivation of privileges
- Social isolation
- Name calling
- Assignment of duties not assigned to other members
2. Harassment Hazing: Behaviors that cause emotional anguish or physical discomfort in order to feel like part of the group. Harassment hazing often confuses, frustrates, and causes undue stress.
Examples of harassment hazing include but are not limited to:
- Verbal abuse
- Threats or implied threats
- Sexual simulations
- Requiring situationally inappropriate attire
- Sleep deprivation
3. Violent Hazing: Behaviors that do or could cause physical or psychological harm.
Examples of violent hazing include but are not limited to:
- Placing students in the shower against their will
- Forced or coerced alcohol or other drug consumption
- Forced or coerced sexual acts
- Paddling, or other forms of assault
- Forced or coerced ingestion of vile substances
- Expected participation in illegal activity
The sanction of disciplinary suspension or disciplinary expulsion will be strongly considered for students and student organization found responsible for harassment and violent hazing and for situations where respondents use deception or collude with others to obstruct a hazing investigation.