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If Your Organization Hazes

If you are not sure whether your group's activities constitute hazing read about the Campus Code of Conduct, review the descriptions of hazing, and learn about the continuum of hazing.  

If you know that your group hazes, but are not convinced that it is a problem consider the arguments for and against hazing and think about the following ten reasons to stop hazing:  

  • Regardless of potential benefits of hazing to the group, there are costs as well.
  • Hazing is either harmful or creates a significant risk of harm, whether mental or physical.
  • Getting caught can result in the suspension or elimination of your organization.
  • You may be charged as an individual under the Campus Code of Conduct or NYS law (lawyers are expensive even if you are found not guilty).
  • A lawsuit can ruin your group and financially devastate you and your family.
  • A reputation for hazing can negatively impact members' future employment or graduate school applications.*
  • There are effective ways to achieve the group's pro-social goals without hazing.
  • Learning ways to build group cohesiveness without hazing will develop skills that can be used after graduation.
  • You will be more likely to generate committed alumni support.
  • You won't have anything to hide or regret and will leave a positive legacy for future generations of members. 

*When members graduate and develop professional lives, they often do not want to be associated with an organization that hazes. As one Cornell alumn who owned a major software company said, "If I were reviewing applicants and found out that one had been involved in hazing during college, I wouldn't want him in my firm."  

If your group hazes and you want to challenge it:  

  • Raise your concern with other members that you trust. Form an informal subgroup of members who would be willing to raise their objections to the leaders and larger group.
  • If the group has relationships with alumni members, seek their support.
  • Frame your argument at multiple levels. You may be able to convince some members that hazing is intrinsically wrong and harmful to individuals. Other members may only be persuaded that the risk of getting caught and the consequences that could result make hazing not worth continuing. Cite examples from the Hazing Blotter of consequences that other organizations have experienced they have been caught hazing.
  • Take a stand that you do not believe that new members should have to go through what you did.
  • Offer ideas for alternatives to hazing that can achieve the positive outcomes of initiating new members while eliminating the risks and costs that come with hazing.
  • Give examples of groups that have developed strong, non-hazing new member programs such as the following:  

Fraternity and sorority resources  

Visit http://dos.cornell.edu/greek/policies.cfm .  

Through "Creating Chapters of Excellence," the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs (255-2310) works with participating Cornell fraternities and sororities to develop model new member programs.  

Additionally, the following resources are available:  

  • Multicultural Greek Letter Council Report on Hazing: This document clarifies acceptable and unacceptable practices and provides suggestions for non-hazing activities.
  • Pro Brotherhood Report: this document is the final report of the Fraternity and Sorority Advisory Council Sub-Committee on Hazing in the Fraternity System.
  • New Member Ed Grant Application: chapters can apply for grants up to $300 to support creative, non-hazing new member programming. This funding is generously provided by Anthony B. Cashen '57.  

If you cannot find support for change within your organization:  

  • Seek support outside of the group. Talk with friends and ask their advice.
  • Refuse to participate in the hazing.
  • Do not feel obligated to keep the hazing a secret. You may want to let new members know what is going to happen to them.
  • Consider quitting in protest.
  • Consider reporting the hazing confidentially, anonymously, or openly to University officials.

Search Hazing Site:

Report Hazing Confidentially