Although it is not a common occurrence in all sororities/fraternities or even all campuses, hazing is a serious risk that seems to escalate with each passing year.
As StopHazing.org defines it, hazing “refers to any activity expected of someone joining a group (or to maintain full status in a group) that humiliates, degrades or risks emotional and/or physical harm, regardless of the person's willingness to participate.” Although hazing can involve relatively harmless activities, it can also escalate quickly and cause harm and humiliation to those involved. StopHazing.org also uses the NCAA’s definition of hazing as "any activity expected of someone joining a group that humiliates, degrades, abuses or endangers, regardless of the person's willingness to participate. This does not include activities such as rookies carrying the balls, team parties with community games, or going out with your teammates, unless an atmosphere of humiliation, degradation, abuse or danger arises."
Hazing is performed as a form of initiation when a new member enters into an organization and can occur in both fraternities and sororities. Typically, alcohol is involved, but physical abuse and sexual abuse can also be included.
Although sororities and fraternities are very important parts of the college experience, you should not hesitate to speak up or speak out against any hazing activities that may occur. If you find yourself in the midst of hazing, especially where someone’s well-being is at risk, don’t be afraid to call 911. Paramedics and law enforcement will be on their way to respond to the problem and this is the quickest and most effective way to shut a hazing episode down.
You should also report any instances of hazing to the Dean of Students or the Dean of Men/Dean of Women. They will take immediate action to investigate the hazing incidents and may even put the perpetrators on probation. Also, if your campus has a Dean or Director of Greek Life, submit a formal complain to them as well. Greek organizations do not condone hazing and they, too, will be quick to investigate.
Remember, do not be afraid to leave or report a hazing situation. Hazing should not be a part of sorority or fraternity life.