Pepperdine classifies hazing into three categories: 1) subtle hazing; 2) harassment hazing, and 3) violent hazing (see descriptions and examples below). Pepperdine prohibits any student or student organization from engaging in, individually or as part of a group, an act which is humiliating, intimidating, or demeaning or potentially endangers or puts at risk the mental health or physical safety of a student for the purpose of or in connection with initiation, admission into, affiliation with, or as a condition for continued membership in a group or organization. Hazing includes active or passive participation in such acts and occurs regardless of the willingness to participate in the activities.
The following terms are an important part of Pepperdine's definition of hazing:
Passive Participant: An individual member of the hazing group who stands by and watches the hazing activity perpetrated upon another person and chooses not to do or say anything that would or could change the course of action. The University considers passive participants as much of the problem as active perpetrators, and will consider passive participants to be contributors who help perpetuate hazing culture.
Consent: Even if someone agrees or is otherwise complicit in participating in a potentially dangerous activity, this does not remove the responsibility from the perpetrators (or passive participants). Furthermore, it may not be true consent when considering the pressure and desire to belong to the group. Consequently, the implied or expressed consent of any person toward whom an act of hazing is directed cannot be used as a defense to a charge of hazing.
Subtle hazing typically involves activities that breach reasonable standards of mutual respect and place new members on the receiving end of ridicule, embarrassment, and/or humiliation tactics. New members often feel the need to endure subtle hazing to feel like part of the group or team. Some examples include, but are not limited to:
- Any activity that is presented as optional but has real or perceived negative consequences for nonparticipation (e.g., not participating Spirit Cup activities results in running laps).
- Assigning demerits
- Silence periods with actual or implied threats for violation
Harassment hazing typically involves behaviors that cause emotional anguish or physical discomfort in order to make new members feel like part of the group. Harassment hazing confuses, frustrates, and causes undue stress for new members. Some examples include, but are not limited to:
- Verbal abuse
- Threats or implied threats
- Wearing or carrying apparel or items likely to subject the wearer to embarrassment, ridicule, or harm
- Stunt or skit nights with degrading, crude, or humiliating acts, inappropriate scavenger hunts or road trips
Violent hazing involves behaviors that have the potential to cause physical, and/or emotional harm. Some examples include, but are not limited to:
- Forced, pressured, or coerced alcohol or other drug consumption
- Beating, paddling, or other forms of assault
- Forced or coerced ingestion of substances or concoctions
- Water intoxication or other consumption challenges
For more information about the definition of hazing, positive new member activities, and disciplinary action, please refer to the Pepperdine Hazing Policy.
How You Can Tell If It Is Hazing
If you have to ask if it's hazing, it probably is. Here are some things to think about, and to help you determine if the activity is hazing.
- Is this in line with your organization's mission and values?
- Are alcohol or other drugs involved?
- Are any state, local laws or University rules being violated?
- Will active/current members of the group refuse to participate with the new members and do exactly what they're being asked to do?
- Does the activity risk emotional or physical abuse?
- Is there risk of injury or a question of safety?
- Do you have any reservation describing the activity to your parents, to a professor, University official, or media?
- Must new members carry specific items with them at all times?
- Must new members remain silent for a certain time period, or are they denied contact with friends and family?
- Would you be comfortable describing this activity to your parents? Or have details about it published in the Graphic?
Ways to Step UP! Against Hazing
- Define up front what is acceptable and what is not acceptable.
- Ensure the activity that is planned could not be considered, by definition, hazing.
- Don't let others justify hazing as "tradition".
- BREAK THE SILENCE and voice your opinion.
- Choose to not participate.
- Speak with teammates/captains about your concerns.
- Talk to an administrator/coach/trainer, etc.
- Come up with new activities that promote team bonding without any risk of it being considered hazing.
- Get those involved to stop and think about the people they are hazing (perspective taking). Is there any chance hazing could trigger something in terms of personal/ emotional challenges they have had to face in their life.
How To Report Hazing
To report hazing as it is occurring; please dial these emergency phone numbers:
On-Campus: Department of Public Safety, 310.506.4441
To report hazing after it has occurred; please contact any of the following numbers:
Department of Public Safety (CCB), 310.506.4700
Office of Community Standards (TCC 210), 310.506.4471
Greek Life Coordinator (HAWC 115), 310.506.6569
Anonymous reports may be made on the "LiveSafe" mobile app or on the anonymous Wave Tip line by calling voice mail at 310.506.7634 or online at: www.pepperdine.edu/publicsafety/concern
Anti-hazing Hotline for Greek Organizations: call toll-free 1.888.NOT.HAZE (1.888.668.4293)
- Pepperdine Department of Public Safety
- Emergency - 310 506 4441
- Non-emergency - 310 506 4442
- Dean of Students
- Coach, Assistant Coach, Athletic Directors, Administrators, Advisors, and/or Trainers
- NCAA Building New Traditions
- A Comprehensive Approach to Hazing - www.hazingprevention.org
- Stop Hazing – www.stophazing.org
- The Gordie Foundation
The University of Arizona C.A.T.S. Life Skills Program, along with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and national leading experts, has developed Step UP! Be a Leader, Make a Difference.