Myths About Hazing

Myth: There are multiple definitions and they are so vague. Therefore, hazing is open to interpretation.

Reality: Read the definitions provided by Miami University, the Ohio state law regarding hazing, or the policy of your student’s fraternity or sorority. Use common sense – does the activity seem to violate those definitions? If there is any feeling that it may be hazing, it probably is.

Myth: New members expect to and want to be hazed.

Reality: Unfortunately, this is sometimes true. But generally, most people do not want to be humiliated, intimidated, or abused.

Myth: Hazing “only a little bit” or “minor hazing” isn’t that bad.

Reality: It is these situations that frequently go too far and inflict unintended harm on others – especially when alcohol is involved. Just like speeding in a car – there are not levels of violating speed limits. You are either hazing or not.

Myth: Hazing builds unity and teamwork among members.

Reality: This is the most frequent argument used by hazers and hazing organizations. The outcomes may seem to work, but there are underlying consequences. Think about how tragedy affects a group – the experience may bring individuals together, but it should not have to come through someone having to suffer.

Myth: Hazing is okay if it is not physically dangerous.

Reality: This is the second most frequent argument used for hazing. Non-physical hazing typically involves illegal activities or mental abuse, both of which bring consequences that stay with the victims for some time.

Myth: If someone agrees to participate in the activity, it can’t be considered hazing.

Reality: A common misconception about hazing is consent. As with all crimes, consent is not a valid defense. Hazing is about intention. Consent typically comes through peer pressure, threats, or intentional omission of details of the proposed event.

Myth: Hazing has been around for decades. If the alumni went through it, the new members can.

Reality: “Tradition” does not justify hazing. Traditions are created by groups, and the groups hold the power to change the traditions. Students run fraternity and sorority chapters – not alumni.

Myth: Eliminating hazing makes the pledge program too easy. We want tough, dedicated members.

Reality: Hazing is NOT necessary to join any group. If the argument were true, it would be required by the national organizations. The common experiences of pledging an organization is what brings a group together – NOT the type of experiences.

Myth: Other organizations and students on campus won’t respect a chapter that doesn't haze.

Reality: It is a common assumption that everyone hazes or all other groups haze. This is obviously false. Most groups that claim that they do not haze in fact do not haze. Organizations that ignore or avoid the issue during recruitment probably have something to hide or are afraid to admit to.