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23.010: Hazing

Status:

Approved

Effective:

December 10, 2021

Initiated by:

Jenny Hall-Jones | Interim Vice President of Student Affairs

Endorsed by:

Elizabeth Sayrs | Executive Vice President and Provost

Approved by:

Hugh Sherman | 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.

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

    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.

    To help all community members make informed choices when selecting which organizations and groups to get connected to, Ohio university maintains a summary of all student organization misconduct. This resource is updated on a regular basis and includes the previous seven years of conduct history for our groups and organization. This report can be found here

  3. Definitions

    1. Hazing

      As defined in Ohio Revised Code 2903.31, hazing is defined as:


      "doing any act or coercing another, including the victim, to do any act or initiation into any student or other organization or any act to continue or reinstate membership in or affiliation with any student or other organization that causes or creates a substantial risk of causing mental or physical harm to any person, including coercing another to consume alcohol or a drug of abuse, as defined in section 3719.011 of the Revised Code."

      Hazing is a form of power-based violence. Hazing can occur with power differentials in all types of relationships regardless of membership status, including an initiate, an individual seeking reinstatement, a current member, or a current student with inactive status. In part, hazing is an attempt to exert control or influence from one person to another. What constitutes hazing is a dynamic and changing set of circumstances that requires a situational response. 

      Therefore, Ohio university further defines hazing to include:

      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 harassment and other sexual misconduct as defined by Ohio university policy 03.004.

    2. Members of the university community

      Faculty, staff, students, volunteers (e.g., advisors and volunteer coaches), organizations, groups, alumni, and consultants are members of the university community for purposes of this policy.

    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 hazing that takes place between two or more people who are affiliated with the institution regardless if it occurs at sanctioned or non-sanctioned events. 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, academic processes, group in which the student is involved, or their governing bodies. The university has the right to act regardless of the actions of a governing body.

    Hazing as defined, as well as some of the specific acts involved, may also 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/s 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.

    Individuals who participate in hazing or recklessly permit the hazing of another may also face criminal penalties in accordance with Ohio Revised Code sections 2903.31 and 2903.311. These penalties are in addition to sanctions imposed by the university under this policy. 

  6. Reporting

    1. Duty to report

      Immediately upon learning of potential hazing, all employees, volunteers, advisors, consultants, and alumni have a duty to report any alleged violation of hazing. This obligation extends to reporting what someone tells you and/or what you observe. Each mandated reporter must report to the university and to law enforcement. 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 campus community or if they have supervisory, evaluative, grading, or advisory responsibility over other members of the campus community. 

      Separate from and in addition to any administrative duty to report hazing, Ohio Revised Code section 2903.0311 states that "[n]o administrator, employee, faculty member, teacher, consultant, alumnus, or volunteer of any organization, . . . who is acting in an official and professional capacity shall recklessly fail to immediately report the knowledge of hazing to a law enforcement agency in the county in which the victim of hazing resides on in which the hazing is occurring or has occurred." 

      Further, section 2921.22 of the Ohio Revised Code requires any 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

      The department of Community Standards and Student Responsibility (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 harassment and other sexual misconduct" 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 may 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 will review all reported allegations of hazing, and where appropriate, investigate. 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, or an academic college/department, etc. Additionally, CSSR will assess the need for interim measures will also be assessed (e.g., partial or full cease and desist of organizational activities). Every effort will be made 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. 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.

  8. Community Education

    In addition to posting this policy as part of the policy manual, Ohio university will provide a link to this policy to each recognized organization within the university. Ohio university is further committed to educating all OHIO students, faculty, staff, and volunteers, about what hazing is, how to recognize it and steps to address it. All students, employees, and volunteer advisors and coaches are required to complete hazing education as part of being a member of our community. Further, all recognized organizations must conduct mandatory training on hazing for any volunteer who has contact with students. 

  9. Further Guidance

    Any student who does not complete the educational program may not participate in any organization or group on campus including groups/organizations, athletics teams, intermural sports, and/or musical ensembles until the training is complete. Continued failure to complete the training may result in a referral to the community standards process. 

    For all others, failure to comply with policy 23.010 will be addressed through the appropriate university disciplinary process based on an individual's classification. Disciplinary action may vary, up to and including termination of employment or the individual's volunteer position. 

Reviewers

Proposed revisions of this policy should be reviewed by:

  1. Dean of Students

  2. Chief Human Resource Officer

  3. Assistant Dean/Director of Community Standards and Student Responsibilities 

  4. Director of University Equity and Civil Rights Compliance 

  5. Chief of Ohio University Police

  6. Student Senate

  7. Graduate Student Senate

  8. Faculty Senate

  9. Administrative Senate