Facts About Hazing, and Common Misperceptions

Misperception #1: Hazing is a problem for fraternities and sororities primarily.

Fact: Hazing is a societal problem. Hazing incidents have been frequently documented in the military,athletic teams, marching bands, religious cults, professional schools and other types of clubs and/or,organizations. Reports of hazing activities in high schools are on the rise.


Misperception #2: Hazing is no more than foolish pranks that sometimes go awry.

Fact: Hazing is an act of power and control over others --- it is victimization. Hazing is premeditated and NOT accidental. Hazing is abusive, degrading and often life-threatening.


Misperception #3: As long as there's no malicious intent, a little hazing should be O.K.

Fact: Even if there's no malicious "intent", safety may still be a factor in traditional hazing activities that are considered to be "all in good fun." Besides, what purpose do such activities serve in promoting the growth and development of group team members?


Misperception #4: Hazing is an effective way to teach respect and develop discipline.

Fact: First of all, respect must be EARNED--not taught. Victims of hazing rarely report having

respect for those who have hazed them. Just like other forms of victimization, hazing breeds mistrust, apathy and alienation.


Misperception #5: If someone agrees to participate in an activity, it can't be considered hazing.

Fact: In states that have laws against hazing, consent of the victim can't be used as a defense in a civil suit. This is because even if someone agrees to participate in a potentially hazardous action it may not be true consent when considering the peer pressure and desire to belong to the group.


Misperception #6: It's difficult to determine whether or not a certain activity is hazing--it's such a gray area sometimes.

Fact: It's not difficult to decide if an activity is hazing if you use common sense. Is this activity showing concern for the well-being for all members of the group? Besides, when in doubt, you can always ask an administrator.


Misperception # 7: Princeton doesn’t happen at Princeton.

Fact: Yes, hazing does happen at Princeton, and can happen in any student organization too.



Excuses you may hear about hazing….


If “it’s tradition…” then be the group that CHANGES the tradition for the better. 


“People will get much worse in the real world anyway...” When is the last time an adult you know and respect went to work and was forced to imitate sex acts, eat gross foods, or be degraded? Hazing is never “preparation” for the real world. There are much better ways to prepare for post-graduation life than forced participation in uncomfortable activities.


We’re not forcing anyone to join our club/group/team. If they don’t want to go through this, they don’t have to sign up/try out/join…” This excuse ignores the many social factors that may make someone want to join a group. Think about it: if you want to be in a social group with your friends, does that automatically mean you also want to be beaten? Desire to join a group is not consent for whatever the group makes you do or a free pass for older members.  Regardless of their choice to try out or join, a student should never be hazed. 


These myths and facts are taken from www.stophazing.org, a national Hazing Prevention Website. Facts and Misperceptions specific to Princeton have been added.