What is hazing?

Hazing is any action taken or situation created intentionally, with or without consent, whether on or off campus, to produce mental or physical discomfort, embarrassment, harassment, or ridicule. Groups will be held responsible for the actions of their members, including pledges, associates, and any other pre-initiates.

The negligence or consent of the student/participant or any assumption of risk by the student/participant is not a defense to an action brought pursuant to the policy.

The adjudicating officer or body, not the alleged victim, will determine whether the action taken or situation created violated university policy.

Hazing can consist of the following activities:

  • paddling
  • morally degrading and/or humiliating games or activities
  • engaging in public stunts or buffoonery
  • physical or psychological stunts
  • ANY activity that is inconsistent with the academic mission of the George Washington University

Keep in mind, hazing can occur in any student organization and is not limited to fraternities, sororities, or athletics.

Hazing is a violation of the Code of Student Conduct and is illegal.

Signs of Potential Hazing:

  • Code words and phrases can be used to mask the actual nature of an event or activity. These nicknames can also sound unlike that activity to which they refer.
  • Social media can be used to realize there is hazing going on.
  • Members of the organization may drop hints or may state things in a more obvious manner
  • The overemphasis on trivial things like memorizing information, mandatory hours, carrying random objects like change or manuals, periods of silence,  mandatory outfits, and confiscating cell phones during activities.
  • Calisthenics, running, scavenger hunts, and road trips can all be forms of hazing or indicate that it is occurring.
  • Failure to accomplish tasks like not having enough signatures of members can result in hazing.
  • Behavior like using only a back door or avoiding a place all together can be indicators.


What Can You Do?

If you are concerned about an immediate threat of harm to yourself or another student, contact the George Washington University Police Department at 202-994-6111.

Fill out a Confidential Hazing Report

Contact the Center for Student Engagement at 202-994-6555 or [email protected] 

Courtesy of David Westol, Limberlost Consulting, Inc. "36 Ways to Detect Hazing" 2010.