Hazing is strictly prohibited at Dartmouth College, by both College policy and New Hampshire law. Dartmouth College is first and foremost an educational institution. College hazing prevention policies and response procedures for hazing incidents are based on that educational mission.
Dartmouth College's definition of hazing includes but is not limited to activities that would fall within the New Hampshire statutory definition of hazing (RSA 631:7). Under New Hampshire law and College policy, hazing is defined as:
"any act directed toward a student, or any coercion or intimidation of a student to act or to participate in an act, when
(1) such act is likely or would be perceived by a reasonable person as likely to cause physical or psychological injury to any person; and
(2) such act is a condition of initiation into, admission into, continued membership in or association with any organization."
Dartmouth's definition of hazing also includes the following activities if they occur as part of initiation or admission into an organization, group or team, or are required for continued membership in an organization, group or team:
The definition of hazing applies whether or not the participants or others perceive the behavior as "voluntary." The implied or expressed consent of any person toward whom an act of hazing is directed is not a defense. Assertions that the conduct or activity was not part of an official organizational event or was not officially sanctioned or approved by the organization are also not a defense. This definition applies to behavior on or off College property or organization premises.
No student, College employee, College volunteer, student organization, athletic team, or other College-recognized group or association should participate in, solicit, direct, aid, conduct or participate as a witness in hazing.
A student is responsible for behavior when he or she solicits, aids or attempts to aid another person in planning or committing the behavior.
An organization or team can only haze through the actions of individual students. However, as outlined in the Group Accountability Statement, organizations have an obligation to uphold the Standards of Conduct and applicable policies, including the Hazing Policy. Organizations that engage in hazing can expect to be held accountable as an organization or team for that activity.
Additional sanctions may apply to an organization, group or team which fails or refuses to identify individual members involved in hazing and/or retaliates against anyone who acts to stop or report hazing activity.
EDUCATION AND PREVENTION
Dartmouth Athletics, the Office of Greek Letter Organizations and Societies, Outdoor Programs, Student Activities, Residential Education and other departments responsible for overseeing student organizations and groups are conducting ongoing educational activities to promote positive group identity and prevent hazing behavior. Educational activities will occur throughout the academic year.
PRE-CLEARANCE OF NEW MEMBER EDUCATION ACTIVITIES
All new member education programs must be approved in advance by the appropriate department responsible for overseeing the organization, group or team involved. In deciding whether to approve the program, the department will consider whether the proposed activity constitutes hazing as defined above and also whether the activity is likely to produce or would be perceived by a reasonable person as likely to produce mental or physical discomfort, stress, embarrassment, harassment, or ridicule. Organizations, groups and teams may not engage in any new member activities that have not been approved by the responsible department.
SAFETY AND SECURITY WALK-THROUGHS
To promote student safety throughout the year, Safety and Security will conduct unscheduled and unannounced walk-throughs, similar to those currently conducted under the SEMP policy. Random walk-throughs will follow existing protocols, but will be unscheduled and unannounced.
These walk-throughs will cover common spaces in all Dartmouth residential buildings, including residence halls, affinity houses and fraternities and sororities. Private rooms will not be subject to walk-throughs, consistent with current practice, and student guides will accompany officers at walk-throughs conducted in fraternities and sororities whenever possible. Random walk-throughs of common residential spaces will occur several times a week across the campus, throughout the year.
Allegations of hazing, including anonymous allegations, may be reported 24 hours a day to the Hanover Police by calling 911, or to Safety and Security by calling 646-4000 or sending an email to Safety.and.Security@dartmouth.edu.
Dartmouth students and employees are required to notify appropriate College officials of any perceived instance of hazing, as defined by College policy and/or New Hampshire law. Reports may be made directly to the Department of Safety and Security or local law enforcement, or to coaches, advisors, undergraduate deans or other College officials who have responsibilities for student organizations. Employees receiving such reports must share them with the Department of Safety and Security, which is responsible for determining whether the alleged behavior must be reported to law enforcement authorities. Under state law, the College is obliged to report hazing to law enforcement.
Any Dartmouth undergraduate identified as a potential witness must cooperate fully in the course of the investigation or disposition of possible violations of this policy or any Standard of Conduct. Cooperation may include meeting or communicating with Safety and Security, the Office of Judicial Affairs, deans, or other College officials as requested. It is an expectation of citizenship in this community that students with information about possible violations of community standards respond and participate when called. Failure to do so may result in disciplinary action.
INDIVIDUAL STUDENT REPORTING AND IMMUNITY
A student who reports activity that may fall within the definition of hazing and who cooperates fully as a witness in the investigation and disciplinary process will not be subject to College disciplinary sanctions even if his or her own conduct violated the hazing policy, unless the conduct the student engaged in caused physical harm to another. Students who choose to report and request immunity for their own conduct under this policy should know that they may be liable for criminal and civil penalties that are beyond Dartmouth's control.
FRESH START ORGANIZATIONAL AMNESTY POLICY
Members of an organization, group or team who are concerned that some of the organization's activities do not comply with Dartmouth's hazing policy may consult their supervising department head (e.g. Athletics, Collis, GLOS, OPO) confidentially for guidance. Under the Fresh Start program, an organization that fully discloses past or recent behavior in violation of the Hazing Policy will receive assistance as the group develops a new plan to replace the activities in question. With this disclosure, and full implementation of the program, the organization will not face College disciplinary action for the activities disclosed, unless the conduct contributed to causing physical harm to others. Organizations, groups or teams who choose to report and request amnesty for their conduct under this policy should know that they may be liable for criminal and civil penalties that are beyond Dartmouth's control.
HAZING OUTCOMES AND ACCOUNTABILITY
Students and organizations may be subject to criminal prosecution for violation of the New Hampshire law prohibiting hazing. Conduct or events that may constitute hazing and that could result in disciplinary sanctions will be referred to the Judicial Affairs Office for possible adjudication by the Committee on Standards and/or the Organizational Adjudication Committee.
Individual undergraduate students found responsible for violations of this policy should be prepared for significant individual sanctions, up to and including suspension or permanent separation from the College.
Student organizations, groups or teams found responsible for violations of this policy should be prepared for significant organizational sanctions, up to and including, loss of new member recruitment privileges, suspension or revocation of organizational activity and/or recognition. The full range of possible sanctions for individual and organizational violations of this policy and the College Standards of Conduct can be found in the 2015-2016 Student Handbook.
As a further means of holding an organization or team that hazes accountable for its actions, the details of hazing violations, and the consequences to the organization or team, will be reported publicly on a termly basis, provided that a public report would not cause additional harm to the students who have been hazed.
Hazing is an unproductive and hazardous custom that is incongruous with organizational and community values. It has no place in college life, either on or off campus. No policy can address, in specific fashion, all possible situations which may take place. Students and organizations are expected to conduct themselves and their activities in a spirit of social responsibility and respect for others.
Even when demeaning or embarrassing behaviors do not appear overtly harmful in themselves, as where the participants appear to engage in them willingly, they may constitute hazing if they are part of an organization's initiation or activities involving members and if they are likely to produce mental or physical discomfort, stress, embarrassment, harassment, or ridicule. The determination of whether a particular activity constitutes hazing will depend on the circumstances and context in which that activity is occurring.
Students should ask themselves if they could satisfactorily explain a questionable activity to parents, the parents of a fellow-student, a College official, a police officer, or a judge. If not, then the activity probably constitutes hazing. When in doubt about an activity, students should ask a dean, coach, or other College employee who works with student organizations, groups or teams. They can provide additional examples of behaviors that might constitute hazing, examples of positive group-building activities, assistance with organizing non-hazing events to foster teamwork and cohesiveness, and other relevant information and support.
Hazing harms individuals, limits the development of genuine and trusting relationships within an organization, and is a violation of College policy and State law. Additionally, students, coaches, advisors, corporation members, and parents can be sued in civil court for damages that result from the mental and/or physical harm caused by hazing. According to the Fraternal Information and Planning Group, most insurance policies exclude damages caused by hazing from coverage.
The information that follows, adapted from stophazing.org, provides a framework for considering whether certain behaviors may constitute hazing.
A complete list of activities that would constitute hazing would not be possible, but hazing can be classified into three categories that would reasonably be expected to affect another person's dignity or well-being. Almost anything that new members are required to do that is not required of more senior members or any other activities devoid of legitimate educational value is likely to constitute hazing.
Subtle hazing typically involves activities 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). Some examples include, but are not limited to:
Harassment hazing typically involves behaviors that cause emotional anguish or physical discomfort in order to make new members/rookies 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.) Some examples include, but are not limited to:
Violent hazing involves behaviors that have the potential to cause physical, emotional and/or psychological harm. Some examples include, but are not limited to:
POSITIVE NEW MEMBER ACTIVITIES
There are new-member activities that are positive and educationally valid. There is a wide array of activities in which members of College-affiliated groups, organizations, and teams can engage that positively nurture camaraderie and team building, promote the development of self-esteem, and develop unity, connectedness, and a sense of belonging. Examples include:
Because it is not always clear to individuals which activities are unacceptable and constitute hazing, student leaders and members of student groups are required to consult with groups' advisors, coaches, or other College officials responsible for the program or activity in advance of the planned event. Activities which detract from the goal of fostering the personal and intellectual development of our students have no place on our campus.
Last Updated: 9/17/15