Hazing is a broad term encompassing any action or activity, which is performed for admission/acceptance in an organization, and which:
- does not contribute to the positive development of a person;
- inflicts, intends, or may reasonably cause physical or mental harm or excessive anxieties;
- demeans, degrades, disgraces, or otherwise adversely affects the dignity of a person by making that person an object of amusement or ridicule;
- is illegal, contrary to the policies/purposes of the university, or compromising to the moral/ethical principles of a person. The definition will apply in any circumstance-regardless of the location, intent, or consent of participants.
Some activities are easily categorized as "hazing," while others may not be so easily classified. When the answer is unclear as to whether an activity may be hazing, it may be helpful (both for members, and for new initiates) to consider the following questions; affirmative answers should provide reasonable assurance as to appropriateness:
- Does the activity confirm or promote the values of Christian faith and practice?
- Can one argue reasonably and strongly that this activity/experience contributes to a productive or educational purpose?
- Does the activity have value in and of itself?
- If known outside the group, or witnessed by others, would this activity potentially add to the respect/esteem held for the organization by non-affiliates?
- If called to, could I reasonably and genuinely defend this activity in a court of law?
- Would I willingly and unashamedly allow my parents to witness this?
- Are prospective new members and initiated members participating together or equally in this?
New initiates have a responsibility to themselves and to the organization(s) they join to preserve the productive nature and integrity of the organization(s) by refusing to participate in or condone any form of hazing. Already-inducted members shoulder that burden even more heavily. Creating a productive and positive initiation process for a tight-knit group is not an easy process, and it is mired in potential for abuse when people (individually or collectively) are careless about their own purposes and motivations.
Generally, if you have to ask if an activity is hazing, it probably is. Do not do something simply because it has always been done, because older members had to do it, because everyone else is doing it, or for no other reason than you want to do it. Whatever your involvement in the process be bold enough to have accountability and to take the "high road!"
The following lists are orientation activities that the administration regards as generally having the tendency to be "constructive" or "non-constructive," respectively. It has been provided as a guideline for formulating and judging the appropriateness of any activities used in the orientation process. These lists are not intended to be exhaustive, but are provided only as examples. If after thoughtful consideration there are any questions about whether an activity is hazing, contact one of the deans in the Office of Campus Life at 966-5690.
Constructive Orientation Activities
- Initial goal-setting retreat in which the class defines and commits to several significant/ambitious projects or goals they will accomplish before initiation
- Holding mandatory study sessions of significant length (not limited to the study of club materials)
- Community service projects, especially those in which both members and prospectives participate
- Educating about the organization's history/ideals, procedures, member responsibilities, etc.-or having prospectives learn basic information about actives, and each other, through visitation
- Participation in team-building exercises such as a ropes course, paint-ball, team athletics, etc.
- Involving prospectives, as a group, in campus-wide activities or programs
- Scheduling meetings exclusively for prospectives in which they can: get to know each other, plan accomplishment of goals, or talk with the organization's president or new member coordinator (or both) about their experience in the process
Non-Constructive Orientation Activities
- Forcing or pressuring someone to consume any substance, including food or drink
- Calisthenics or physical activity of any kind (e.g., push-ups, sit-ups, running) or any kind of uncommon/intimidating physical contact (e.g., paddling, pushing, etc.)
- Having prospective new members line up, or walk in a particular way
- Requiring inordinately uncomfortable or ridiculous dress
- Marking, branding, or the application of not-easily-removable substances to the body
- Antagonistic yelling or verbal berating of a prospective new member
- Shackling/binding or blind-folding of a prospective new member
- Any road trips, treasure/scavenger hunts, "kidnappings," etc. which are not approved by the Office of Campus Life.
- Making such inordinate demands on time, so as to interfere with academic performance, class/chapel attendance, or adequate hours for sleep
- Conducting or referring to any activity as Hell Week, Hell Night, or the like
Who do I contact if I have information regarding hazing?
Lipscomb University provides an outlet to stop hazing. If you believe you have been hazed or have information regarding hazing, please use the following contacts:
E-mail – firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone – (615)966-HAZE or ext.4293