Office of Student Leadership and Engagement


Break the Tradition

But what we do isn't hazing… Some activities are easily categorized as hazing. Others may not be so easily classified. If you're not sure about whether an activity may be hazing, consider the following questions:

  • Is this activity an education experience?
  • Does this activity promote and conform to the values of the organization?
  • Will this activity decrease a new member's respect for themselves, the organization and its members?
  • Is a reasonable person going to think this is a normal activity?
  • If you videotaped this activity would you be willing to allow your parents to watch the tape? The new members' parents? A judge? Prospective new members? The Wilmington media?
  • Would you be able to defend this activity in a court of law?
  • Does this activity meet both the spirit and letter of standards prohibiting hazing?

A good rule to follow when deciding whether an activity is hazing is:
If you have to ask if it's hazing, it probably is.

Steps to Break the Tradition

Awareness of Your Members

  • Use news stories, pamphlets, and national policy statements to let your members know what actions are hazing and why hazing is not appropriate

Education of Your Members

  • Teach your members that there are alternatives to hazing
  • Take advantage of workshops, conferences, and retreats to educate everyone in your organization
  • Use positive programming that assimilates new members into the chapter

Detection of Violations by Your Members

  • Hazing does not necessarily have to be an entire organization function Individuals in your organization can haze your members without approval. It is important to look for activities and comments that may indicate a member or group of members is hazing other members
  • Be alert and don't look the other way

Taking Corrective Actions

  • After you have found a problem, don't overlook it. Members who haze must be held accountable by the organization and the university for their unacceptable behaviors.

I did what I did out of a misguided sense of building brotherhood, and instead I lost a brother. I will live with the consequences of hazing for the rest of my life. My actions killed a good person, and I will be a felon for the rest of my life, and I'll have to live with that disability, but I'm alive and Matt's not.
- Gabriel Maestretti told the court in the Matt Carrington hazing trial