Hazing Policy at Dickinson

This online policy content is provided as a resource for the students, faculty, staff, and administration of Dickinson College. Content is subject to change. Please contact the appropriate person or office to obtain the most current information.

Hazing is a violation of College policy and a criminal offense in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Dickinson College is committed to preserving the individual dignity and well-being of each and every member of the campus community, and supports students' desire to build community through groups and associations. These associations can offer powerful opportunities for student engagement and learning. The college also acknowledges the need for belonging that students often feel and values the contributions that student groups make toward fulfilling that need.

Within every group there exist organizational structures (e.g. hierarchies, practices) that define the relationships among its members. These structures can be:

  • formal and/or informal
  • explicit and/or implied
  • planned and/or spontaneous

Groups are encouraged to consider these structures and relationships, as understanding them is critical to positive group development and the prevention of hazing. Groups are cautioned that within any of those structures, any activity which serves to reinforce, or has the effect of reinforcing dominant-subordinate relationships among group members must be approached with great care and guidance. This is particularly true when a group affiliates new members.

Hazing occurs across campus in a wide variety of student groups. Hazing is often about power and control, and does nothing to build group or team unity. More than half of students in colleges and universities have experiences hazing. On a yearly basis, across the country, a significant number of hazing incidents and death involve alcohol consumption.

Dickinson College defines hazing as any act that, as an explicit or implied condition for initiation to, admission into, affiliation with, acceptance in, or continued membership in a group or organization, could be seen by a reasonable person as endangering the physical well-being of an individual, as causing mental distress to an individual, or as being disruptive to the campus community, regardless of the individual's willingness to participate. Specific examples of hazing include:

  • Requiring members to perform unncessary duties not assigned to existing member
  • Required calisthenics or other forms of physical exercise
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Required carrying of certain items
  • Restriction of communication; confiscation of phone, tablets, or laptops
  • Yelling or screaming
  • Personal servitude or chores
  • Lineups for purposes of interrogation, intimidation or debasement
  • Assigning pranks such as stealing, painting objects, or harassing other groups
  • Wearing embrassing or uncomfortable clothing
  • Restrictions on showering, bathing, or taking care of personal hygiene
  • Pushing, showing, tackling, or other forms of personal contact
  • Forced consumption of food, liquid, or alcohol
  • Paddling or whipping
  • Branding, cutting, labelling, or shaving parts of the body

Reporting Hazing

All members of the college community should report hazing when they see it occurring or believe that it has occurred. If you or someone you know is being hazed or if you have questions about anything that is being done as part of a membership experience, please say something. You can employ the following options:

  • Contact the Department of Public Safety to speak to an Officer
  • Talk to the IFC or Panhellenic Council Advisors or talk to your college dean
  • Use the Anonymous Tip Form to provide information anonymously- assuming this is not an emergency or crisis situation- at this link

Hazing Outcomes
The college recognizes a continuum of group development activities. At one end of the continuum are positive group development activities that do not constitute hazing because they stand the test of transparency, foster a sense of group unity and do not compromise the well-being of any individual participants. At the other end are behaviors that are clearly hazing because they are dangerous, abusive and/or disruptive, and involve only subordinate members of the group. In between are activities that could be seen by groups as benign, but are considered hazing because they serve no legitimate group-related purpose, could be considered disruptive to the academic community or when occurring in the context of individuals' personal history have the potential to cause physical, mental or emotional harm.

In the event that the college must intervene in a situation involving hazing, the dean of students will determine the nature of the intervention by where along this continuum the behavior falls. The primary purpose of any intervention is to ensure that the hazing ends, and that those who participate in hazing are appropriately accountable to the Dickinson community. Toward that end, individuals associated with the group (e.g. organizational executives) may be held personally accountable along with the group. The college also reserves the right to engage other authorities as appropriate (e.g. law enforcement agencies, Greek national offices, etc.)

Specifically, consequences for hazing for groups and/or individuals include but are not limited to:

  • Warnings
  • Mandated educational programs for members &/or others
  • Community restitution
  • Student status and/or housing restrictions
  • Suspensions
  • Expulsion

Students are also reminded that hazing is a violation of Pennsylvania law. The text of the law is available in the Dean of Students office and online.