Ohio University

23.010: Hazing

Status:

Approved

Effective:

February 23, 2017

Initiated by:

Jason Pina | Vice President of Student Affairs

Endorsed by:

Pam Benoit | Executive Vice President and Provost

Approved by:

David Descutner | Interim President

Signatures and dates on archival copy
  1. Overview

    Ohio university prohibits hazing as defined in this policy. The university will investigate and respond to all reports of hazing as outlined in this policy.

  2. Philosophy

    Ohio university is committed to a safe and respectful campus environment that aligns with our institutional values of citizenship, civility, character, community, and commitment. It is the university's belief that true human development will best occur in an atmosphere that promotes social and ethical responsibility.

    The university recognizes that a student organization or group may belong to a national oversight organization that also holds students accountable to expectations and standards (e.g., the national organization for a local fraternity chapter). Ohio university is committed to partnering with these outside affiliates to address hazing allegations and will communicate with them as appropriate.

    Ohio university acknowledges the vast array of groups and organizations with different purposes and processes for affiliation. The university supports traditions that are educational to the group or organization and are congruent with the university's core values. Hazing is antithetical to our institutional mission and has no place at Ohio university.

  3. Definitions

    1. Hazing

      Hazing includes, but is not limited to:

      1. Any action or situation which recklessly or intentionally endangers the mental, emotional, or physical health or safety of a student for the purpose of initiation or admission into, or affiliation with, any student organization or group regardless of the person's consent to participate.

      2. Brutality of a physical nature including but not limited to paddling, whipping, beating, branding, forced calisthenics, or exposure to the elements.

      3. Coerced consumption, including but not limited to any food, alcoholic beverage, liquid, drug, or any other substance that subjects the student to an unreasonable risk of harm.

      4. Acts intended to cause mental stress, including but not limited to sleep deprivation, transportation or abandonment, confinement to a small space, forced exclusion from social contact, forced conduct which could result in embarrassment, any forced activity that is designed to shame or humiliate, or any action of harassment (as defined in the "Student Code of Conduct").

      5. Coerced activities, including but not limited to violation of local, state, or federal laws, violation of university policies, rules, or regulations, and personal servitude.

      6. Acts of sexual misconduct, relationship violence, or stalking, as defined by Ohio university policy 03.004.

    2. Members of the university community

      Faculty, staff, students, volunteers (e.g., advisors), organizations, groups, alumni, and contractors are members of the university community.

    3. Organization

      An organization consists of a number of persons who are associated with each other and have registered with the university as a student organization (such as clubs, club sports, or fraternities and sororities).

    4. Groups

      A group consists of a number of persons who are associated with the university and each other, but who have not registered, or are not required to register, as a student organization (including but not limited to athletic teams, musical or theatrical ensembles, academic or administrative units, and clubs not registered as student organizations).

  4. Scope

    The university holds students accountable for their behavior both on and off-campus and addresses behavior that is a violation of the "Student Code of Conduct." This policy applies to student organizations, groups, and individuals and is effective from matriculation to commencement, including breaks in the academic year.

  5. Outcomes and consequences

    Hazing is a serious offense of the Ohio university "Student Code of Conduct" and, therefore, is subject to the full range of sanctions (reprimand, disciplinary probation, suspension, and expulsion). In addition, other educational activities may be required as conditions of the sanction. An individual, organization, or group may be subject to other outcomes in accordance with the applicable outside constituents or group in which the student is involved, or their governing bodies. The university has the right to take action regardless of the actions of a governing body.

    Hazing as such, or some of the specific acts involved, may violate local, state, or federal laws or regulations; for example, the use of force (including the threat of force) may subject the perpetrator to criminal charges of simple, felonious, or aggravated assault. Punishment upon conviction or plea will be as the court decides, and is independent of any decisions made by the university under this policy.

    The victim of any hazing may file a civil action against one or more individual perpetrators, or against the local or governing organization. Such suits may result in sanctions as the court directs, independent of any decisions made by the university under this policy.

  6. Reporting

    1. Duty to report

      Immediately upon learning of potential hazing, any employee with a duty to report violations of this policy who receives a complaint of hazing or who observes or learns of conduct that is reasonably believed to be in violation of this policy, is required to report the alleged conduct to CSSR.

      Employees with a duty to report violations of this policy include faculty, administrators, coaches, and staff. Graduate assistants and student employees have a duty to report violations of this policy of which they become aware in the course of their duties when these duties include responsibility for the safety and wellbeing of other members of the campus community or if they have supervisory, evaluative, grading, or advisory responsibility over other members of the campus community.

      In addition to the duty to report hazing to CSSR as identified in the prior paragraph, in some circumstances there is also a duty to report allegations of criminal conduct to law enforcement. Section 2921.22 of the Revised Code requires every person who knows that a felony has been or is being committed, to report it to law enforcement. It is a criminal offense to knowingly fail to make the report. If you suspect or have knowledge of criminal activity occurring on university property, call the Ohio university police department ("OUPD") at 740-593-1911 (in an emergency, please dial 911 immediately). Incidents that occur off-campus or at a regional campus should be reported to local law enforcement.

    2. Filing a report of violation of this policy

      CSSR serves as the recipient for any complaint or report of hazing. If the report involves criminal conduct, CSSR shall notify law enforcement. If the report involves allegations of sexual misconduct, the provisions of Ohio university policy 03.004: "Sexual Misconduct, Relationship Violence, and Stalking" applies. If the reporting party has not already notified the office of equity and civil rights compliance ("ECRC"), as required by policy 03.004, CSSR will notify ECRC. In certain instances, CSSR will notify other appropriate agencies, such as children's services.

      Walk-in or mail:
      Office of Community Standards and Responsibility
      Ohio University
      Baker University Center
      Athens, Ohio 45701

      Phone: 740-593-2629

      Fax: 740-593-4613

      Email: communitystandards@ohio.edu

    3. Anonymous complaints

      Ohio university is committed to reviewing all reports of hazing. Anonymous reports are accepted; however, the university's ability to obtain additional information may be compromised and the ability to investigate anonymous reports may be limited.

    4. Rights of the reporting party

      In order to encourage reporting of alleged hazing, the reporting party will not face conduct referrals for action under the "Student Code of Conduct" with respect to his or her own unlawful or prohibited use of alcohol or drugs during the incident when the alleged hazing occurred. Further, if the reporting party is found to have violated the "Student Code of Conduct" with respect to hazing, then the act of reporting will be taken as a mitigating factor during the selection of sanction.

  7. Investigation process

    CSSR shall coordinate the investigation of all hazing allegations. When appropriate, other university offices may handle certain aspects of the university response, such as ECRC, university human resources, OUPD, etc. Additionally, CSSR will assess the need for interim measures will also be assessed (e.g., partial or full suspension of current group activities). Every effort will be taken to complete the investigation in a timely manner. The hazing allegation will be investigated and resolved in keeping with the "Student Code of Conduct" process. At the point when a formal conduct charge is made against an organization, the national or oversight organization, if any, shall be notified. Criminal investigations resulting from a report to law enforcement will be handled by the appropriate law enforcement agency.

Reviewers

Proposed revisions of this policy should be reviewed by:

  1. Dean of Students

  2. Director of Community Standards and Student Responsibilities

  3. Executive Director of University Equity and Civil Rights Compliance

  4. Chief of Ohio University Police

  5. Student Senate

  6. Graduate Student Senate

  7. Faculty Senate

  8. Administrative Senate