Hazing was once seen as an activity that affected a very specific group of students, members of fraternities and sororities on college campuses. Recent information indicates that hazing is a larger problem that goes beyond Greek letter organizations and could impact students as early as the beginning of high school. It is important to increase awareness and become educated about hazing and how to address it.
What is Hazing?
Louisiana Law defines Hazing as any intentional, knowing, or reckless act by a person acting alone or acting with others that is directed against another when both of the following apply:
The person knew or should have known that such an act endangers the physical health or safety of the other person or causes severe emotional distress.
The act was associated with pledging, being initiated into, affiliating with, participating in, holding office in or maintaining membership in any organization.
Hazing includes but is not limited to any of the following acts associated with pledging, being initiated into, affiliating with, participating in, holding office in, or maintaining membership in any organization:
Physical brutality, such as whipping, beating, paddling, striking, branding, electric shocking, placing of a harmful substance on the body, or similar activity.
Physical activity, such as sleep deprivation, exposure to the elements, confinement in a small space, or calisthenics, that subjects the other person to an unreasonable risk of harm or that adversely affects the physical health or safety of the individual or causes severe emotional distress.
Activity involving consumption of food, liquid, or any other substance, including but not limited to, an alcoholic beverage or drug, that subjects the individual to an unreasonable risk of harm that adversely affects the physical health or safety of the individual or causes severe emotional distress.
Activity that induces, causes, or requires an individual to perform a duty or task that involves the commission of a crime or an act of hazing.
Louisiana Laws on Hazing
RS 17:1801 Amended: Hazing Prohibited
Hazing in any form, or the use of any method of initiation into organizations in any education institution supported wholly or in part by public funds, which is likely to cause bodily danger or physical punishment to any student or other person attending any such institution is prohibited.
Whoever violates the provisions of this Section shall be expelled, suspended, or dismissed from the education institution and not permitted to return for at least one semester, quarter, or comparable academic period. In addition, the person violating such provisions may also be subject to the provisions of R.S. 14:40.8.
RS 14:40.8 Criminal Hazing
It shall be unlawful for any person to commit an act of hazing. Any person who commits an act of hazing shall be either fined up to one thousand dollars, imprisoned for up to six months, or both.
If the hazing results in the serious bodily injury or death of the victim, or the hazing involves forced or coerced alcohol consumption that results in the victim having a blood alcohol concentration of at least .30 percent by weight based on grams of alcohol per one hundred cubic centimeters of blood, any person who commits an act of hazing shall be fined up to ten thousand dollars and imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for up to five years.
If any person serving as a representative or officer of an organization, including any representative, director, trustee, or officer of any national or parent organization is a sanctioned or recognized member at the time of the hazing, knew and failed to report to law enforcement that one or more of the organization’s members were hazing another person, the organization may be subject to the following:
Payment of a fine of up to ten thousand dollars.
Forfeiture of any public funds received by the organization.
Forfeiture of all rights and privileges of being an organization that is organized and operating at the education institution for a specific period of time as determined by the court.
If the hazing results in the serious bodily injury or death of the victim, or results in the victim having a blood alcohol concentration of at least .30 percent by weight based on grams of alcohol per one hundred cubic centimeters of blood, the period of time shall be for not less than four years.
A national or parent organization that receives a report alleging the commission of an act or acts of hazing may conduct a timely and efficient investigation to substantiate or determine the veracity of the allegations prior to making a report to law enforcement. The investigation shall be completed no later than fourteen days after the date on which the report was received alleging the commission of an act or acts of hazing.
R.S. 14:502 Failure to Seek Assistance
Any person at the scene of an emergency who knows that another person has suffered serious bodily injury shall, to the extent that the person can do so without danger or peril to self or others, give reasonable assistance to the injured person. Reasonable assistance includes immediately seeking or reporting the need for medical assistance from an appropriate authority.
Any person who engages in reckless behavior that results in the serious bodily injury of any person shall, to the extent that the person can do so without danger or peril to self or others, give reasonable assistance to the person. Reasonable assistance includes immediately seeking or reporting the need for medical assistance from an appropriate authority.
Any person who violates the provisions of this Section shall be fined not more than one thousand dollars, imprisoned with or without hard labor for not more than one year, or both. If the serious bodily injury results in the death of the person, any person who violates the provisions of this Section shall be fined not more than two thousand dollars, imprisoned with or without hard labor for not more than five years, or both.
Is Our Organization Hazing?
Below are some considerations for determining if an activity constitutes hazing:
- Is the activity an educational experience?
- Does this activity promote and conform to the ideals and values of the organization or group?
- Will this activity increase the individual’s respect for the organization or group?
- Is it an activity that the organization or group members participate in together?
- Would you be willing to allow parents or University officials to witness this activity?
- Does the activity have value in and of itself?
Why Should I Care About Hazing?
What individuals and groups may consider to be a perfectly harmless way of making students learn their lesson in education, may, in the view of others, be an act that can be criminal. The danger in hazing is that it gets out of hand. What begins as an innocent prank can lead to disaster.
Student organizations and groups at Southeastern Louisiana University are expected to be responsible community members and should seek alternative options that focus on the positive aspects of being involved on campus. These include, but are not limited to the following:
Campus Involvement - encourage group members to get involved with other campus organizations or groups
Community Service or Philanthropic Events that involve the whole group or membership (not just new members)
Wellness Activities (Intramurals, Group Classes at Pennington Student Activity Center)
Team building exercises such as retreats, sporting events, or obstacle courses
Leadership training that focuses on ethical leadership and positive group bonding
Attending campus or community events together.
Ultimately, hazing is a community issue with ripple effects beyond the immediate groups or settings where it occurs. Hazing is a type of abuse that can interfere with the ability of children, young adults, and adults to thrive as learners and as leaders, whether they’re in school, in a job, or a part of any type of group or organization. Each member of any organization or group has a responsibility to make a difference by being informed about hazing and committing to hazing prevention.
Reporting and Campus Resources
If you are being hazed or know someone in your student group or organization who is hazing or being hazed there are a number of reporting options and campus resources
- Offer Hazing Climate Assessments for universities, Campus Hazing Surveys, Hazing Prevention (hazing consultations), Conduct hazing research which can be found on their website