Princeton’s Hazing Policy

University Prohibition on Hazing

Any student shall have the right to be free of all activities which might constitute hazing, while attempting to become a member of, or maintain membership in, a fraternity, sorority, athletic team, student organization, eating club, or other organization. Organizations, their members, and their prospective members are prohibited from engaging in or encouraging others to engage in activities that are defined as hazing.

Hazing encompasses a broad range of behaviors that

  • a) may place another person in danger of bodily injury, or
  • b) that demonstrates indifference or disregard for another person's dignity or well-being.

Examples of Hazing

Examples of hazing include but are not limited to the following:

  • ingestion of alcohol, food, drugs, or any undesirable substance.
  • participation in sexual rituals or assaults.
  • emotionally or psychologically abusive or demeaning behavior.
  • acts that could result in physical, psychological, or emotional deprivation or harm.
  • physical abuse, e.g., whipping, paddling, beating, tattooing, branding, and exposure to the elements, or the threat of such behaviors.
  • participation in illegal activities or activities prohibited by University policy.

Where an activity amounts to hazing, a person’s consent to the activity is not a defense. In order to encourage students who may hesitate to report incidents of hazing for fear of revealing other policy violations, the University may offer leniency to a reporting student with respect to the behavior reported, depending on the circumstances involved.

Acceptable Behavior

Any new member initiation process should be conducted in a manner that respects the dignity of new members and protects their mental and physical well-being. Examples of acceptable behavior include the promotion of scholarship or service, the development of leadership or social skills or of career goals, involvement with alumni, building an awareness of organizational history, development of a sense of solidarity with other organization members, or activities that otherwise promote the mission of the organization or of the University.

(Rights, Rules, Responsibilities 2.2.7)(link is external)

New Jersey Law

In compliance with New Jersey statute, Princeton University is required to notify all students of their rights under law.

  1. A person is guilty of hazing, a disorderly persons offense, if, in connection with the initiation of applicants to or members of a student or fraternal organization, that person knowingly or recklessly organizes, promotes, facilitates, or engages in any conduct, other than competitive athletic events, which places or may place another person in danger of bodily injury.
  2. A person is guilty of aggravated hazing, a crime of the fourth degree, if that person commits an act which results in serious bodily injury to another person.
  3. Consent shall not be available as a defense to a prosecution under law.
  4. Conduct constituting an offense under the law may be prosecuted under any applicable provision of Title 2C:40 of the New Jersey Statutes.

 

What are the consequences of hazing?

 

A range of penalties including disciplinary probation and campus service may follow, and students have been suspended for hazing under this policy.  The Faculty-Student Committee on Discipline and the Residential College Disciplinary Board adjudicate and mete out penalties for acts of hazing.  

Here are some common misconceptions about the University’s hazing policy:

Myth:     We told the freshmen that they didn’t have to [streak, drink, shoplift, etc.] if they didn’t want to, so it’s not hazing.

Fact:     There is no “consent” defense to hazing.  

 

Myth:    If we just threaten to haze them, but don’t actually do anything, that’s not a violation.

Fact:     The Committee on Discipline has sanctioned students for threatening others with hazing, even when no other behaviors meeting the definition of hazing have followed.

 

Myth:     Only the people organizing a hazing activity can be punished for it, not the people participating.

Fact:     It is a violation to “engage in” hazing, as well as to “encourage others to engage in” hazing.