Hazing Prevention in High School and College
~ What is the supposed function of hazing?
~ Define hazing
~ Explore the purpose of hazing
~ Identify alternatives to hazing
~ Identify the timeline for hazing prevention
~ Identify the role of administrators, coaches, the Panhellenic council, student-athletes, sorority and fraternity members and presidents, and counseling departments
~ Review the hazing “test”
What is Hazing
~ Any action taken or any situation created intentionally that causes embarrassment, harassment or ridicule and risks emotional and/or physical harm to members of a group or team, whether new or not, regardless of the person’s willingness to participate
~ 79% of NCAA athletes report coming to college with a prior hazing experience from high school or middle school
What is Hazing
~ Types of Hazing
~ Verbal abuse
~ Forced activities for new recruits to ‘prove’ their worth to join
~ Being asked to perform acts that go against personal beliefs such as committing a crime, humiliating someone else
~ Simulating sexual activities
~ Being subjected to a perceived physical danger (including beatings,
~ Requirement to endure hardships such as staying awake, physical labor
~ Coerced alcohol abuse
~ Personal servitude or meaningless tasks
Hazing Facts to Know
~ Any setting in which total respect for everyone’s dignity is not present can lead to a hazing climate/environment.
~ “Severity” is not always measured in observed harm . Some hazing victims report that the mental hazing they endured was worse that being physically abused.
~ Earlier trauma can make what may seem like a prank to some, emotionally distressing to others.
~ Pre-emption and prevention is much more effective than reaction.
~ Hazing is denied by using aliases: Pranks, stunts, antics, traditions, initiations, rites of passage
~ Alcohol reduces inhibitions and the ability to resist or protest.
~ Where there is a power imbalance, there is a risk of coercion.
Difference Between Hazing and Bullying
~ The Intersection of Bullying and Hazing – how are they similar?
~ Motivation for bullying and hazing is often identity-based
~ Imbalance of power exists
~ Left unchecked each can contribute to an environment where the behavior is acceptable
~ Each is a precursor to more destructive, hateful behavior
~ The Intersection of Bullying and Hazing – how are they different?
~ Bullying excludes the target from the group, whereas hazing is a ritual or process imposed on a person who wants to be part of the group
~ Bullies often act alone, but hazing usually involves a group, team or organization
How is Hazing Justified?
~ Moral Justification – Make it socially worthy (e.g., creating bonds, building unity).
~ Euphemistic labeling – Sanitized language of non-responsibility (e.g., “team building”).
~ Advantageous comparison – War analogy – “We’re going to battle.”
~ Diffusion of Responsibility – Normative conformity “Everyone is doing it;” avoidance of personal responsibility.
~ Disregard/distortion of consequences – No evidence anyone was seriously injured.
~ Athlete on a scholarship
~ Sorority member who has paid dues, meal plan, lives in house
~ Team member who dropped out because he “changed his mind.”
How is Hazing Justified?
~ Displacement of responsibility
~ “We’re just carrying on tradition”
~ Intentionally uninformed – “We don’t have a problem with hazing here,” or “I don’t want to know.”
~ Surreptitious sanctioning (wink and nod)
~ Dehumanization – Perception of freshmen as “less than”; use of masks, costumes, etc.
~ Attribution of Blame – Blame the victim – “They agreed to it.”
Impact of Hazing
~ Physical, emotional, and/or mental illness
~ Eating disorders
~ Substance abuse (laxatives, steroids, numbing drink)
~ Lowered self-esteem from rejection
~ Poor grades
~ Withdrawal from activities
~ Sleep disruption from depression, trauma or anxiety
~ Loss of sense of control and empowerment
~ Relationships with friends, significant others, and family suffer
~ Post-traumatic stress
~ Loss of respect for and interest in being part of the organization
~ Hazing helps with team building and bonding
~ Hazing erodes trust within the group members
~ It will instill humility in new members
~ Humiliation is a terribly painful and destructive emotional state
~ Humiliation is an external thing. Other people humiliate us. We feel humiliated by what they say or think of us. I cannot feel humiliated in a deserted island.
~ Humility, on the other hand, is a relief. When individuals are able to gracefully accept that there are limits to their power and importance
~ Humility is an internal thing created when peoples’ heart, soul, and mind are not obsessed with themselves.
~ Associated feelings might be curiosity, engagement, openness and acceptance
~ It establishes a hierarchy for leadership: Fear vs. respect
~ Fear-based leadership turns members’ attention inward instead of outward.
~ Members who are led by fear go into survival mode. They are no longer interested in the group’s outcome, they are concerned with staying in the group and not stepping on toes.
~ Leading with fear breeds anxiety, cynicism, distrust, and intimidation
~ Respect-based leadership creates members who look outside themselves and focus on bettering the group.
Common Reasons Hazing Is NOT Reported
~ The school year is about to start. I know hazing going to happen again, but I don’t know what to do.
~ I don’t know who I can trust to talk to about my concerns.
~ I’m not sure I know how to deal with the fear of becoming an outcast.
~ I’m newer to my organization/team. How could I know who my allies are?
~ If I report hazing, it won’t be handled right.
~ By intervening in the hazing, I could get (emotionally/physically) hurt.
~ I don’t want to rock the boat on tradition.
~ I don’t know how to stop the hazing without tarnishing my team/organization’s reputation.
~ My team/organization doesn’t recognize that what we are doing IS hazing.
~ If I report it, my membership will be revoked.
Common Reasons Hazing Is NOT Reported
~ I tried speaking up before, and nothing changed. I feel helpless.
~ I don’t know how to manage losing friendships and respect of those in charge over this, and I think that will happen.
~ I don’t want to say anything, because I am ashamed of what I did to join my organization/team.
~ I’m the only one who thinks this is a problem.
~ My team/organization is my support system, and I can’t afford to lose that.
~ I’m at school on scholarship. How do I make sure it isn’t compromised?
~ I’m embarrassed to report the hazing to my superiors. I know they will look down on me for having participated in it previously.
~ Understand why hazing happens
~ Provide education on an individual, group, institution and community level (in writing).
~ Ensure participants have full participation and ownership in hazing prevention efforts, including education, implementation and adjudication processes
~ Have clearly defined sanctions for hazing activities developed in with the members
~ Establish a means for reporting, investigating and adjudicating hazing
~ Ensure that policies are followed (Advocacy!)
~ Make caring about each other a high priority for success. Talk about what it means to care!
~ Ensure members know that membership requires strong work ethic; positive attitude; and initiative.
~ Model anti-hazing behaviors
~ Demonstrate an emphatic position about treating everyone with total respect at all times from the first contact, including recruiting.
~ Conduct open discussions to help you understand your team’s views and activities
~ Conduct a leadership workshop and regular meetings for your captains to give them the knowledge and skills necessary for being successful and effective team leaders. Include the athletics department’s and your team’s responsibilities and expectations to fulfill their role as captains
~ Lead with respect
~ Leaders who put their group first earn their trust, and when there’s trust, there’s clear and open communication.
~ Another component of respect is being a team player. Look to others for ideas and feedback, ask for help with your weaknesses, and admit when you’re wrong
~ Explain that passive participation makes one a contributor
~ Hazing can occur regardless of CONSENT or WILLINGNESS to participate. If you chose not to take part but knew what was going on, you are part of the problem!
~ Reinforce the message that what counts most is your members’ work and dedication
~ Ensure members know that you will take reports of hazing seriously and will support them in addressing it
~ Ensure initiations are designed to instruct new members in the principles of an organization, are ceremonial and instructive.
~ Ensure group leaders understand and accept their role as a leader and are proud that they were chosen to lead or be in this group.
~ Support educational programs on the following topics:
~ Understanding Group Dynamics
~ How to Effectively Communicate with the Group
~ Recruiting/Host Policies
~ Intervention Skills
~ Listening Skills
~ Decision-Making Skills
~ Health Issues (Alcohol and other drugs, eating disorders, injury rehabilitation)
~ Conflict Resolution Skills
~ Codes of Ethical Conduct and Acceptable Standards of Behavior
~ Rules and Regulations of the Institution and State laws
~ Teach about hazing and remind them that hazing policies are in effect everywhere, 24 hours, seven days a week
~ At the beginning of every semester
~ Before spring and summer breaks
~ When a new student joins
~ At the end of the year– Exit interviews
Stages of Group Development
~ Forming: A group of people comes together to accomplish a shared purpose. Their initial success will depend on their familiarity with each other's work style, their experience on prior teams, and the clarity of their assigned mission.
~ As a leader, your role is to help the team members get to know each other with team building activities and a listening ear.
~ Storming: Disagreement about mission, vision, and ways to approach the group goals are constant at this stage of development.
~ As a leader, your role is to help the team members get to know each other, help your team leader clarify each of these goals so that the team succeeds.
Stages of Group Development
~ Norming: The group has formed working relationships that are enabling progress on the group’s objectives, have agreed to abide by certain group norms and are becoming functional at working together.
~ As a leader, ask for periodic updates. Regularly check the group’s progress at agreed upon intervals and critical steps on the path to a successful conclusion.
~ Performing: Relationships, team processes, and the team’s effectiveness in working on its objectives are synching to bring about a successfully functioning team.
~ As a leader, ask for periodic updates. Help solve problems and provide input as needed. Make sure that members are communicating with all of the other appropriate parties.
Stages of Group Development
~ Ending: The team has completed its mission or purpose and it is time for team members to pursue other goals or projects.
~ As a sponsor, make sure that the team schedules an ending ceremony. Debrief and discuss the successes and how the team could have been more successful. Mark a clear ending to the team or project.
~ Do members understand the expectations and goals of the group?
~ Do members understand why they are participating in the group (What are their goals?)
~ Can members define their group’s importance to the accomplishment of university, national council’s goals
~ Can members define the importance of other groups to the accomplishment of university, national council’s goals
~ How can the group meet individual as well as organizational needs (belonging, financial, future recruitment…)
~ What makes you feel accepted?
~ Why did you choose to be a part of this group?
~ What do you think will be the most positive outcome of your membership?
~ What do you know about the goals and traditions of the organization/group?
Team Building – Hazing Alternative
~ Promotes respect and dignity
~ Supports and empowers
~ Creates real teamwork
~ Develops pride and integrity
~ Is a shared positive experience
Acceptance | Pride | Dignity | Contributing
~ Design and complete a community service project
~ Reward team work
~ Attend a team-building ropes course to build unity among new and veteran members
~ Encourage members to wear team apparel
~ Send photos of the current captain/president and new members to the local newspaper with a personal story about each
~ Take the group hiking, canoeing, rafting, or on a scavenger hunt.
~ Compete with each other in other team games
~ Encourage mentorship
~ Create a unity board that lists the interests and skills of each person and draws connections between members
~ Encourage team building leadership reading and discuss a chapter each week
~ Is there secrecy around the activity?
~ Is there pressure to participate?
~ Is a specific group or individual singled out?
~ Do members justify it as being a “tradition”?
~ Does this activity promote and conform to the ideals and values of the team/athletic department/university/sister- or brother-hood?
~ Will this activity increase long term feelings of friendship between new and initiated members?
~ Take the perspective of your parents – would they be proud? Your Coach? Athletic Director? The University President? National Council?
~ Would you be willing to defend the merit of this activity in a court of law?
~ Does the activity meet both the spirit and letter of the standards prohibiting hazing?
~ Hazing can be prevented
~ Many times hazing is perpetrated by those who are poorly informed
~ There are many healthy alternatives to hazing
~ Group leaders, administrators, counselors and group members all have a responsibility for hazing prevention
~ Education about life skills, communication skills, goal setting, interpersonal skills and conflict resolution can all be helpful in developing an effective group.
~ NCAA Handbook – Building New Traditions – Hazing Prevention in College Athletics – www.ncaa.org/health-safety
~ A Comprehensive Approach to Hazing- www.hazingprevention.org
~ Stop Hazing – www.stophazing.org
~ The Gordie Foundation
~ Haze The Movie – www.hazethemovie.com
~ Hazing Prevention– www.nhpw.com