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Hazing FAQ

For Students

Isn't hazing just a problem for fraternities and sororities?

Hazing takes place across all different types of groups. There have been incidences of hazing at universities with varsity athletic teams, sport clubs, intramural teams, religious groups, social clubs, student organizations, and marching bands. It is not a problem exclusive to fraternities and sororities. 

As long as nobody is physically harmed, a little playful hazing is okay, right?

Hazing isn't just a physical act. It includes the undue mental stress from sleep deprivation, forced exclusion from social contact, forced contact which could result in embarrassment, or any other activity that could adversely affect the mental health or dignity of the individual.

If people know what they are signing up for, why is it still a big deal?

The consent of the victim is not an adequate legal defense for hazing cases. This is due to the peer pressure that is usually exerted, whether explicit or not. The risk of harm is usually not weighed by the victim as they are trying to please the group as a whole.

What LSU calls hazing, my friends call pranks. Why doesn’t LSU have a sense of humor?

Even though there might not be an intention to do harm, serious accidents have occurred during activities that "were only in good fun." These cases constitute hazing, regardless of the outcome.

I know someone who has been hazed. How do I report it?

You can anonymously report here.

Can I report hazing anonymously? I don't want to be ostracized for telling on someone.

Yes, you are not required to provide your personally identifiable information when submitting an incident report.

Where can I find resources to educate my organization about hazing?

You can check out our Resources area for more educational information.  

I have knowledge of a hazing incident, but it occurred a few months ago. Should I still report it?

Yes, it is never too late to report.

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For Parents & Families

What types of activities should my student be participating in when joining an organization at LSU?

Most organizations/teams have education programs that typically impart the history and characteristics of the organization, as well as allowing new members to get to know other members of the group. LSU prohibits the use of drugs and alcohol during these programs. Most educational programs culminate with an examination of the aforementioned material, and, in some organizations, a formal initiation ritual. Typically, only the initiation ritual is secret and closed to members. Inquire about and report any activities you perceive to be harmful, unlawful, or unnecessary to joining the group. 

Will my student or his/her organization/team know if I report them for hazing?

As with any investigation, confidentiality is strictly enforced. What matters is identifying what, if any wrongdoing occurred, not who reported it.

I was hazed in my student organization/team experience, and I turned out fine. What's the big deal?

Unfortunately, things have changed from one generation to the next. Hazing has digressed from harmless fun to frequently alcohol-influenced situations where your student’s welfare can be at great risk. Nearly all hazing deaths and serious injury involve alcohol.

My student and his/her friends say that hazing occurs in every organization. Why have you not stopped it?

It is our hope that your student will not join an organization that hazes its members. Despite the rationale for hazing, individuals and organizations know it is wrong. For this reason, most hazing occurs off-campus and at night and involves individuals outside of the organization. These circumstances make it difficult for LSU to enforce policy and laws involving our students. We cannot investigate allegations of hazing without a reasonable and concrete report of misconduct.

What should I look for to see if my student is being hazed?

Look for uncharacteristic changes in your student such as appearance, dress, behavior, etc. Have you lost contact with them for more than one day?

How can I approach my student about hazing in their organization/team?

Start by asking your student – point blank – to explain the things he or she is doing to join the fraternity or sorority. Ask for a copy of the new member education program or ‘pledge program.’ Ask what a typical week is like for them. Secrets are typically not shared during the new member period, so your student should be able to share the program with you.

My student mentioned participating in ‘Hell Week.’ What is this?

‘Hell Week’ is a common hazing practice consisting of a week of particularly high-risk activities leading up to initiation in a fraternity or sorority/organization/team. Hell Weeks are strictly prohibited by Louisiana State University.

Source: Miami University & University of Central Florida

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