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Hazing

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Stanford is committed to fostering experiences, relationships and environments that contribute to the good of our community and ensure that every student feels a firm sense of belonging. Hazing of any kind is antithetical to these goals; therefore, Stanford prohibits hazing activities. 

Definition of Hazing at Stanford University

Hazing is any activity expected of someone joining or participating in a group that humiliates, degrades, abuses, or endangers them, regardless of a person’s willingness to participate. All students have the right to be free of such experiences.

There are two key elements when an individual is attempting to become a member of or maintain membership in a student group:

  1. Humiliating, degrading, or endangering behavior
  2. Happens regardless of an individual’s willingness to participate

Because of the socially coercive nature of hazing, implied or expressed consent is not a defense under this policy. 

Examples of hazing include but are not limited to:

  • Encouraging the use of alcohol or illegal drugs
  • Forcing or coercing consumption or use of any substance
  • Physical abuse, e.g., whipping, paddling, beating, tattooing, branding, shaving and exposure to the elements, or the threat of such behaviors.
  • Engaging in or simulating sexual acts
  • Threatening or causing physical restraint
  • Nudity
  • Throwing substances or objects at individuals
  • Assigning unreasonable chores or acts of servitude
  • Causing excessive exercise, sleep deprivation or excessive fatigue
  • Interfering with adequate time for study
  • Requiring the wearing of apparel or acting in a way that is conspicuous and not within community norms
  • Blindfolding
  • Subjecting students to abusive or demeaning conduct

Conduct that constitutes hazing may also be found to violate other university policies, such as Title IX, the Fundamental Standard, or the alcohol and other drugs policy

Consequences of a Violation

Hazing may result in serious individual and/or Group consequences including, but not limited to: disciplinary action up to and including expulsion for individuals and permanent loss of recognition for groups. Any individual who plans or intentionally assists in hazing activity has engaged in hazing, regardless of whether that individual is present when the hazing activity occurs.

Applications

Stanford's hazing policy is distinct from and broader than California Penal Code section 245.6, which prohibits: "any method of initiation or pre-initiation into a student organization or student body, whether or not the organization or body is officially recognized by an educational institution, which is likely to cause serious bodily injury to any former, current, or prospective student of any school, community college, college, university or other educational institution in this state." A violation of Penal Code Section 245.6 that does not result in serious bodily injury is punishable as a misdemeanor, while a violation that results in death or injury is punishable as a felony or a misdemeanor.

Nothing in this hazing policy prevents Stanford from taking institutional action against hazing activity that falls outside the narrower definition of Penal Code section 245.6.

Questions regarding hazing policies related to fraternities and sororities should be directed to the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life at (650) 723-0778. For all other student groups, contact Student Activities and Leadership at (650) 723-2445.