Babson College adheres to and enforces Massachusetts state law that prohibits the practice of hazing. Members of any organizations who fail to comply with the hazing law will be subject to the College Honor Board or other disciplinary processes, which may result in immediate suspension from College housing, suspension or expulsion from the College, loss of organizational recognition, and other sanctions. Criminal charges also may be brought against individual members of any organization who are found to practice hazing. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts passed legislation in November 1985 regarding the issue of hazing. The College also is required by this statute to issue a copy of the law to the leadership of every registered student organization. The Office of Student Activities and Leadership requires all groups to sign an acknowledgment of this law.
Hazing is a crime defined under the law as “any conduct or method of initiation into any student organization, whether on public or private property, which willfully or recklessly endangers the physical or mental health of any student or other person. Such conduct shall include whipping; beating; branding; forced calisthenics; exposure to the weather; forced consumption of any food, liquor, beverage, drug, or any other substance; or any other brutal treatment, or forced physical activity which is likely to adversely affect the physical health or safety of any such student or other person, or which subjects such student or other person to extreme mental stress, including extended deprivation of sleep or rest, or extended isolation.” A second important aspect of the law concerns the failure to report hazing. It states, “Whoever knows that another person is the victim of hazing (as defined) and is at the scene of such crime shall, to the extent that such a person can do so without danger or peril to himself or others, report such crime to an appropriate law enforcement official as soon as reasonably practicable.”
Babson College expanded upon the Massachusetts law to also include the following as part of the Babson College Hazing Policy: Any act committed against someone joining or becoming a member or maintaining membership in any organization that is humiliating, intimidating, or demeaning, or endangers the health and safety of the person. Hazing includes active or passive participation in such acts and occurs regardless of the willingness to participate in the activities. This may include activities that are a violation of international organizational polices related to hazing. Hazing creates an environment/climate in which dignity and respect are absent.
Examples include but are not limited to: Behaviors that emphasize a power imbalance between members of the group or team. This form of hazing typically involves activities or attitudes that breach reasonable standards of mutual respect and place members on the receiving end of ridicule, embarrassment, and/or humiliation tactics. Members often feel the need to endure this form of hazing to feel like part of the group/team/organization. Behaviors that cause emotional anguish or physical discomfort in order to feel like part of the group. This form of hazing confuses, frustrates, and causes undue stress for members. Behaviors that have the potential to cause physical and/or emotional, or psychological harm.
Examples include but are not limited to:
- Assigning demerits
- Silence periods with implied threats for violation
- Deprivation of privileges granted to other members
- Requiring members to perform duties not assigned to all members
- Socially isolating members
- Lineups and drills/tests on meaningless information
- Name calling
- Requiring members to refer to other members with titles (e.g. “Mr.,” “Miss”) while they are identified with demeaning terms
- Expecting certain items to always be in one’s possession
- Verbal abuse
- Threats or implied threats
- Asking members to wear embarrassing or humiliating attire
- Stunt or skit nights with degrading, crude, or humiliating acts
- Expecting members to perform personal service to other members, such as carrying books, errands, cooking, cleaning, etc.
- Sleep deprivation
- Sexual simulations
- Expecting members to be deprived of maintaining a normal schedule of bodily cleanliness.
- Be expected to harass others
- Forced or coerced alcohol or other drug consumption
- Beating, paddling, or other forms of assault
- Forced or coerced ingestion of vile substances or concoctions
- Water intoxication
- Expecting abuse or mistreatment of animals
- Public nudity
- Expecting illegal activity
- Exposure to cold weather or extreme heat without appropriate protection
The law includes references to fines and sanctions for violations. If you have any questions about hazing or would like any further information, contact the Office of Community Standards.