The first step in preventing hazing is recognizing the existence of hazing and understanding the type of activities that may be considered hazing. However, it is also equally important to understand why people haze and consider alternative practices to replace hazing.
Individuals and organizations engage in hazing activities for many reasons. Some may engage in hazing activities with malicious intent because they enjoy the power they exert over younger members. Others may seek positive outcomes for hazing activities, such as team building and group development. And while ignorance is never an excuse, individuals may not even be aware that they are engaging in a certain behavior or activity that could be considered hazing. Click here to learn more about the perceived benefits of hazing and the real costs associated with those activities.
Introducing new members to a group is a process that can create powerful group chemistry and develop high levels of motivation for new members from their very first experience to a group’s culture. Many groups with long traditions of initiation practices that have involved hazing struggle with what they perceive as an unclear definition of “hazing.” They are also often reluctant to give up traditions that feel definitional to the group’s culture. The purpose here is to clearly define some examples of healthful rites of initiation that serve all of the ultimate goals of initiation, but do so in ways that are consistent with Georgetown’s educational and developmental philosophies.
The University will investigate all reports of hazing behavior, including those reported anonymously. If this is an emergency or an urgent situation, call 911 or Georgetown University Police (202-687-4343) immediately.