Joining a Group
If you are thinking about joining a group (e.g., fraternity, sorority, performing group, team, club, organization), consider whether or not doing so might involve some type of initiation. Initiation into a group can be a single event or an extended process. Since the process of joining a group may involve hazing, it is important to be an informed consumer of the experience for which you are signing up.
As stated in Cornell's Code of Conduct, activities can be hazing regardless of a person's willingness to participate. The responsibility for hazing lies with the perpetrators, not those who are hazed. While the suggested questions below do not guarantee that you will not be subjected to hazing, they may help reduce your risk.
Ask current members
- What kinds of things do you have to do to join the group?
- What is the group's position on hazing?
- Has the group ever been in trouble for hazing?
- How long does the pledging/new member/joining process last?
- Does the group have a policy of non-secrecy?
- How much time will be involved?
- Do they have a hell week?
- If your organization initiates members after an intake or recruitment process, do you pledge "underground"?
If the group members cannot give thorough descriptions of what new membership involves (e.g., service projects, pro-social group-building activities) or seem evasive, have your guard up. Even if they say that they do not haze, be cautious if they are unable to describe what they do.
Ask other students
- What do you know about this group?
- What kind of a reputation does it have?
- Have you heard about what they do with new members?