Students should be aware that hazing violates campus policy, federal and state law. The following information has been prepared by the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life for educational purposes and to inform prospective members and current members of our policies.
New Jersey definition of hazing:
According to New Jersey law an individual is guilty of hazing if, “in connection with the 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 athletic events, which places or may place another person in danger of bodily injury.” Additionally, “a person is guilty of aggravated hazing, a crime of the fourth degree, if he/she commits an act prohibited… which results in serious bodily injury to another person.”
Ramapo College of New Jersey definition of hazing:
“Any action taken or situation created, intentionally, to produce mental or physical discomfort, embarrassment, harassment, or ridicule. Such activities may include but are not limited to the following: use of alcohol during pnm activities; paddling in any form; creation of excessive fatigue; physical and psychological shocks; quests, treasure hunts, scavenger hunts, road trips or any other such activities carried on outside or inside of the campus; wearing of public apparel which is conspicuous and not normally in good taste; engaging in public stunts and buffoonery; morally degrading or humiliating games and activities; and any other activities which are not consistent with academic achievement, fraternal law, ritual or policy or the regulations and policies of the educational institution or applicable state law.”
Depending upon circumstances, these activities have at one time or another been construed as hazing by the courts and/or institutions of higher education. Such actions are often required or implied as conditions of inclusion or exclusion from a group, formal or informal. Thus, hazing may be perpetrated by individual(s), group(s), or part(s) of a group. Below are examples of hazing activities prohibited by College policy.
Examples of Hazing Activities Prohibited by Ramapo College:
- Requiring any form of exercise or physical activity (such as crunches, push-ups, running, lunges, carrying heavy items, standing for long periods of time)
- Requiring a regimented public demeanor, i.e. marching, military-like demeanor, limiting use of automatic doors, restricting walking patterns, prescribing set walking formations, such as single file, or cutting corners.
- Not permitting individuals to speak for extended periods of time and/or forced exclusion from social contact; prohibition from speaking with College officials, faculty, employers/clients, club membership or leadership or roommates or prohibition from speaking with family/friends even in emergency situations.
- Requiring individuals to walk or march in formation of any kind
- Publically wearing apparel which is conspicuous and not normally in good taste
- Not permitting individuals to speak for extended periods of time and/or forced exclusion from social contact
- Requiring the ingestion of any substance i.e., spoiled food, drink, concoctions, water, hot sauce
- Prolonged exposure to the elements
- Physical assault/harassment i.e., branding, blindfolding or hand-tying, beating
- Requiring dietary intake in any way i.e., food restrictions, limitations, designating diet, healthy or otherwise
- Conducting activities that do not allow adequate time for study or sleep
- Requiring prescribed greetings or recitation as part of new member activities/new member program in academic areas
- Deprivation of or interference with the maintenance of a normal schedule of bodily cleanliness
- Expecting certain items to always be in one’s possession that have no significance to the organization (as stated by the governing body) or that are physically burdensome or potentially dangerous
- Engaging in unauthorized activities which involve compelling an individual or group of individuals to remain at a certain location or transporting anyone anywhere, within or outside the township of Mahwah i.e., road trips, treasure and scavenger hunts, kidnapping, drop-offs, etc.
- Forcing new members to perform individual acts or acts as a group which are crude, degrading and meant to embarrass and/or humiliate, i.e., acting like an animal, simulating sexual acts
- Assigning or endorsing pranks such as borrowing or stealing items, painting property and objects of others, or harassing other individuals or groups
- Non-physical harassment including yelling and screaming or calling individuals demeaning names
- Requiring any personal servitude to another individual or group such as running errands, cleaning, making food runs, cooking, performing someone else’s academic work, requiring a new member to be a designated driver* even if not involved in the activity
* this in no way should impede designated driver programs within chapters
- Questioning under pressure including using line-ups or drills
- Simulating or requiring activity of a sexual nature, or threatening to do so
- Expecting illegal activity or threatening to require illegal activity
- Psychological games used to intimidate new members, isolating new members and/or abandoning or falsely imprisoning new members
Hazing is hazing regardless of consent. Agreeing to any of the aforementioned activities or any other unauthorized activity does not make it acceptable.
Organizations may not employ practices that are contrary to governing body policy. Activities banned by governing bodies are also considered banned by Ramapo College of New Jersey. Where organization and college policies differ, the College policies will prevail.
Please note: This list by no means covers all activities and actions that can be considered hazing. Should you have questions or desire clarification on any of these items, please contact the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, Student Center Room 202B, or call 201-684-77779.
Additional information on hazing prevention: