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Hazing

How to Report

Portions of the following are taken verbatim from www.stophazing.org and www.hazingprevention.org.

“Hazing” refers to any activity expected of someone joining a group (or to maintain full status in a group) that humiliates, degrades or risks emotional and/or physical harm, regardless of the person’s willingness to participate. In years past, hazing practices were typically considered harmless pranks or comical antics associated with young men in college fraternities.

Today we know that hazing extends far beyond college fraternities and is experienced by boys/men and girls/women in school groups, university organizations, athletic teams, the military, and other social and professional organizations. Hazing is a complex social problem that is shaped by power dynamics operating in a group and/or organization and within a particular cultural context. Hazing activities are generally considered to be: physically abusive, hazardous, and/or sexually violating. The specific behaviors or activities within these categories vary widely among participants, groups and settings. While alcohol use is common in many types of hazing, other examples of typical hazing practices include: personal servitude; sleep deprivation and restrictions on personal hygiene; yelling, swearing and insulting new members/rookies; being forced to wear embarrassing or humiliating attire in public; consumption of vile substances or smearing of such on one’s skin; brandings; physical beatings; binge drinking and drinking games; sexual simulation and sexual assault.

A. Subtle Hazing

Behaviors that emphasize a power imbalance between new members/rookies and other members of the group or team. Termed “subtle hazing” because these types of hazing are often taken-for-granted or accepted as “harmless” or meaningless. Subtle hazing typically involves activities or attitudes that breach reasonable standards of mutual respect and place new members/rookies on the receiving end of ridicule, embarrassment, and/or humiliation tactics. New members/rookies often feel the need to endure subtle hazing to feel like part of the group or team. (Some types of subtle hazing may also be considered harassment hazing).

Examples include the following:
     •    Deception
     •    Assigning demerits
     •    Silence periods with implied threats for violation
     •    Deprivation of privileges granted to other members
     •    Requiring new members/rookies to perform duties not assigned to other members
     •    Socially isolating new members/rookies
     •    Line-ups and Drills/Tests on meaningless information
     •    Name calling
     •    Requiring new members/rookies to refer to other members with titles
          (e.g. “Mr.,” “Miss”) while they are identified with demeaning terms
     •    Expecting certain items to always be in one’s possession

B. Harassment Hazing

Behaviors that cause emotional anguish or physical discomfort in order to feel like part of the group. Harassment hazing confuses, frustrates, and causes undue stress for new members/rookies. (Some types of harassment hazing can also be considered violent hazing).

Examples Include the following:
     •    Verbal abuse
     •    Threats or implied threats
     •    Asking new members to wear embarrassing or humiliating attire
     •    Stunt or skit nights with degrading, crude, or humiliating acts
     •    Expecting new members/rookies to perform personal service to other members such
          as carrying books, errands, cooking, cleaning etc
     •    Sleep deprivation
     •    Sexual simulations
     •    Expecting new members/rookies to be deprived of maintaining a normal schedule
          of bodily cleanliness.
     •    Be expected to harass others

C. Violent Hazing

Behaviors that have the potential to cause physical and/or emotional, or psychological harm.

Examples Include the following:
     •    Forced or coerced alcohol or other drug consumption
     •    Beating, paddling, or other forms of assault
     •    Branding
     •    Forced or coerced ingestion of vile substances or concoctions
     •    Burning
     •    Water intoxication
     •    Expecting abuse or mistreatment of animals
     •    Public nudity
     •    Expecting illegal activity
     •    Bondage
     •    Abductions/kidnaps
     •    Exposure to cold weather or extreme heat without appropriate protection

Still confused? Ask yourself these questions:
     •    Would I feel comfortable participating in this activity if my parents were watching?
     •    Would we get in trouble if the Dean of Students walked by?
     •    Am I being asked to keep these activities a secret?
     •    Am I doing anything illegal?
     •    Does participation violate my values or those of my organization?
     •    Is it causing emotional distress or stress of any kind to myself or others?

WISCONSIN STATUTES

Crimes; Chapter 948. Crimes Against Children

948.51 Hazing

(1) In this section “forced activity” means any activity which is a condition of initiation or admission into or affiliation with an organization, regardless of a student’s willingness to participate in the activity.

(2) No person may intentionally or recklessly engage in acts which endanger the physical health or safety of a student for the purpose of initiation or admission into or affiliation with any organization operating in connection with a school, college or university. Under those circumstances, prohibited acts may include any brutality of a physical nature, such as whipping, beating, branding, forced consumption of any food, liquor, drug or other substance, forced confinement or any other forced activity which endangers the physical health or safety of the student.

(3) Whoever violates sub. (2) is guilty of:
    (a) A Class A misdemeanor if the act results in or is likely to result in bodily harm
         to another.
    (b) A Class H felony if the act results in great bodily harm to another.
    (c) A Class G felony if the act results in the death of another.

Punishment: Class A misdemeanor (bodily harm or risk of bodily harm)
For a Class A misdemeanor, a fine not to exceed $10,000 or imprisonment not to exceed
9 months, or both. §939.51(3)(a)

Punishment: Class H felony (great bodily harm)
For a Class H felony, a fine not to exceed $10,000 or imprisonment not to exceed 6 years, or both. §939.50(h)

Punishment: Class G felony (death)
For a Class G felony, a fine not to exceed $25,000 or imprisonment not to exceed 10 years, or both. §939.50(g)

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