The following shall serve as a Bill of Rights for all students who shall elect to join a fraternity or a sorority at Ramapo College of New Jersey. These shall be construed as the minimum rights to be afforded to each and every initiate. It is assumed that a Bill of Rights is a basic document in which free men and women are guaranteed freedom from any type of irresponsible action on the part of individuals or organizations. It is also assumed that such a document will serve to reassure the initiates and to enhance rather than hinder the initiating organizations.
This Pledge’s Bill of Rights has been developed by the New Jersey State Attorney General pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:3-24 et seq.
Pledge: For the purpose of the Pledge’s Bill of Rights a pledge is defined as any student of the college/university attempting to become a member of a fraternity or sorority or other similar campus organization.
Definition of Hazing
For the purpose of this Pledge’s Bill of Rights “hazing” shall mean
- As indicated, pursuant to New Jersey Statute:
A. A person is guilty of hazing, a disorderly persons offense, if, in connection with initiation of applicants to or members of a student or fraternal organization, he knowingly or recklessly organizes, promotes, facilitates or engages in any conduct, other than competitive events, which place another person in danger of bodily injury.
B. A person is guilty of aggravated hazing; a crime of fourth degree, if he commits an act prohibited in subsection A. Which results in serious bodily injury to another person.
2C:40-4. Notwithstanding any other provision of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes to the contrary, consent shall not be available as a defense to a prosecution under this act.
2C:40-5. Conduct constituting an offense under this Act may, at the discretion of the prosecuting attorney, be prosecuted under any other applicable provision of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes; and
- Other behaviors or activities in addition to those prohibited under N.J.S.A. 2C:40 et seq.
Defined as hazing by a college or university with respect to its students.
Prohibition on Hazing
- A pledge shall have the right to be free of all activities which may constitute hazing while attempting to become a member of a fraternity or sorority, or other campus organization. Campus organizations and their members are prohibited from engaging in or encouraging others to engage in activities that are defined and hazing.
- A broad range of behaviors that may place another person in danger of bodily or behavior that demonstrates indifference or disregard for another person’s dignity or well-being may be classified as hazing under the above definition. Examples include, but are not limited to the following:
- Forced or required ingestion of alcohol, drugs, food or any undesirable substance.
- Participation in sexual rituals or assaults.
- Mentally abusive or demeaning behavior.
- Acts that could result in physical, mental or emotional deprivation or harm.
- Physical abuse, e.g., whipping, paddling, beating, tattooing, branding, and exposure to the elements.
The pledge initiation process should be conducted in a manner that respects the dignity or pledges and protects their mental and physical well being. Examples of acceptable behavior include pledge activities that are not classified as hazing, but promote scholarship, promote service, develop leadership and/or social skills, assist career goals, involve students with alumni, improve relations with others, build awareness of fraternity or sorority history, instill a sense of brotherhood or sisterhood, foster solidarity or otherwise promote the institutional mission of the host college.
Written Notification of Rights
Institutions shall require all fraternities, sororities and other similar campus organizations to provide all pledges with a written Bill of Rights that includes the provisions set forth herein. The written Bill of Rights shall be signed by the student pledge and filed in the appropriate office of the institution.
Other Policies Governing the Rush or Pledge Process
- Delineation of additional responsibilities of fraternities, sororities and other similar campus organizations in regard to rush or pledge activities shall rest with individual institutions. As such, institutions may develop policies and regulations governing other aspects of the rush or pledge process, which may include pledge and membership education, student eligibility to pledge, limitations on the pledge period and membership selection.
- Institutions may develop policies and procedures for disciplining violators of its pledge process. Institutional action on a hazing violation is independent of any action that a prosecutor may pursue for violations under Title 2C.