As a first-year student at IUP, you have the opportunity to join a wide range of groups, including athletic teams, fraternities and sororities, performing arts ensembles, religious groups, public service organizations, and others. Entry into some of these groups may involve formal or informal initiation rites.
Although initiation practices can help new members become part of a group, they can also constitute hazing. Hazing takes various forms, but typically involves endangering the physical health of an individual or causing mental distress through, for example, humiliating, intimidating, or demeaning treatment. Often hazing involves pressure to drink alcohol, sometimes in dangerous amounts.
If you are joining a group on campus, it’s a good idea to be an informed consumer and understand the risk of being hazed. Since hazing thrives on secrecy and deception, it is important to be wide-eyed when joining a group.
If you have been hazed at IUP or in the past, you are not alone. Hazing is a problem nationwide, and many college students arrive on campus already having been hazed in high school. Being hazed is serious and can have a significant effect on one’s physical and emotional health.
If you want to help stop hazing, find out about the steps to take and the resources that are available. And if you are hazed, one of the most important things you can do is to resist participating in the “tradition” of hazing the next generation of members. As a member of the organization, you will have a chance to challenge hazing and help bring about a change in the culture of the group and campus.
IUP defines hazing as “any action, situation, activity or complicity in activity, or any mental or physical requirement or request placed upon any pledge, member affiliate, or alumnus which causes or has the potential to cause endangerment of the physical, emotional, or mental health or safety of the participant; physical or mental discomfort, pain, injury, fright, degradation, moral compromise, coerced sexual activity, or servitude; and/or the violation of any federal, state, or local law or rule or university policy, as directly or indirectly related to the initiation or admission into or affiliation with or continued membership in an IUP-recognized organization.” For more information on hazing, please visit IUP’s Hazing policy website.