Student organizations - including clubs, athletic teams, etc. - have the potential and unique opportunity to contribute significantly to a student’s intellectual and personal development and understanding of the very nature of “community.” In keeping with its commitment to a positive academic environment, Keene State College unconditionally opposes any situation created intentionally to produce mental or physical discomfort, embarrassment, harassment, or ridicule.
Hazing is a violation of the Student Code of Conduct and College Discipline System. Effective January 1, 1994, hazing became illegal in the state of New Hampshire.
N.H. State Law RSA § 631:7
An Act Prohibiting Hazing.
RSA § 631:7 Student Hazing.
I. For the purposes of this section:
(a) “Educational institution” means any public or private high school, college, university,or other secondary or post secondary educational establishment.
(b) “Organization” means a fraternity, sorority, association, corporation, order, society, corps, athletic group, cooperative, club, or service, social, or similar group, whose members are or include students operating at or in conjunction with an educational institution.
(c) “Student” means any person regularly enrolled on a full-time or part-time basis as a student in an educational institution.
(d) “Student hazing” means any act directed toward a student, or any coercion or intimidation of a student to act or to participate in or submit to any act, when:
- Such act is likely or would be perceived by a reasonable person as likely to cause physical or psychological injury to any person; and
- Such act is a condition of initiation into, admission into, continued membership in, or association with any organization.
II. (a) A natural person is guilty of a class B misdemeanor if such person:
- Knowingly participates as actor in any student hazing; or
- Being a student, knowingly submits to hazing and fails to report such hazing to law enforcement or educational institution authorities; or
- Is present at or otherwise has direct knowledge of any student hazing and fails to report such hazing to law enforcement or educational institution authorities.
(b) An educational institution or an organization operating at or in conjunction with an educational institution is guilty of a misdemeanor if it:
- Knowingly permits or condones student hazing; or
- Knowingly or negligently fails to take reasonable measures within the scope of its authority to prevent student hazing; or
- Fails to report to law enforcement authorities any hazing reported to it by others or of which it otherwise has knowledge.
III. The implied or express consent of any person toward whom an act of hazing is directed shall not be a defense in any action brought under this section.
What Is Hazing
In essence, hazing is defined as any public or private inducement that causes a prospective or current member of any student organization, team, or club mental or physical humiliation, harm, embarrassment, or ridicule, or has a profound negative impact on a student’s academic, social, or work-related function. Hazing shall include, but not be limited to, the following examples:
- Physical hazing - “that which is physically harmful or humiliating to the individual”
- Paddling, hitting, or physical abuse toward a new member
- The eating of spoiled/repulsive foods and/or non-food substances, as well as anything the individual refuses to eat
- Exposure to outside elements without proper dress
- Exercise beyond the physical limits of the individual, such as running over long distances, calisthenics, and so forth
- Forced consumption of alcohol or drugs
- Bondage that prevents use of limbs
- Requests to perform any illegal acts (those contrary to local, state, or federal laws and ordinances), such as defacing public or private property, stealing, and so forth
- Excessive yelling or screaming
- Permitting less than six hours of continuous sleep
- Participating in any activity that the full members will not do
- Psychological hazing - “that which compromises the personal dignity of an individual causing personal embarrassment or shame; causing the individual to be the object of malicious amusement or ridicule; or causing an individual psychological harm or emotional strain”
- Wearing humiliating, unnatural, or binding attire on the outside or underneath a new members’s clothing
- Verbal comments that would degrade and/or embarrass new members
- Involuntary servitude or personal errands
- Derogatory references/remarks to a new member regarding family and/or friends’ health or well being
- Derogatory remarks about a member’s race, religion, or national heritage
- Any requirements which compel a member to participate in any activity which is illegal, or which is known to be contrary to an individual’s moral or religious beliefs, or which is contrary to the rules and/or regulations of the College shall be considered hazing.
Since “hazing” is contradictory to the fostering of an environment which promotes academic freedom, human dignity, the fullest possible development of the individual student, and the aspiration/attainment of the ideals of brotherhood/sisterhood, the College, through the Office of Student Invovlement, has implemented appropriate administrative procedures for the Fraternity & Sorority system to ensure that the rights of students and the community are protected. Such procedures include the following:
- A new member contract is given to all new members providing information and introducing the student to the KSC hazing policy/regulations. The student will be requested to sign the contract to support the elimination of hazing practices. Each chapter president shall affirm through signature his/her compliance with the hazing policy and related education program.
- New members are guaranteed a minimum of six hours of continuous sleep each night during pre-initiation or initiation periods.
- New members are guaranteed a minimum of three hours of totally undisturbed study time Sunday through Thursday evenings, ending no later than 11:30 p.m.
- All new member activities must be shared with the advisor(s) of the respective organization.
- Greek advisors will assist chapters with workshops and consultations on alternatives to hazing.