Greek Life

  • What is Hazing?
  • Hazing Policy
  • How to Report Hazing
  • Additional Resources
  • National Hazing Prevention Week

What is Hazing?

Hazing is strictly prohibited both by the State of Illinois and the Code of Conduct at Western Illinois University. It represents a misguided attempt to foster belonging through fear and coercion, contradicting the principles and values of our institution and all organizations/teams at WIU. The university maintains the right to sanction individuals and organizations involved in or permitting hazing. WIU adamantly rejects and condemns hazing in all its forms. It undermines the genuine membership and student experience, poses risks to lives, and threatens the existence of student

Hazing Policy

While each organization has its own hazing policy, the Western Illinois University Hazing Policy reads as follows:

University Hazing Policy (Code of Student Conduct)

Code of Student Conduct- D: Regulations of Student Conduct; 6
Defined as an act which endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student, whether on University property or not, or which destroys or removes public or private property, for the purpose of initiation, admission into, affiliation with, or as a condition for continued membership in a group or organization.

Policy Statement B

Hazing (See Section D.6.) - Hazing of any type, whether committed or arranged by individual students or members of recognized student organizations, is an unacceptable practice at Western Illinois University. Activities prohibited under this Policy will include, but not be limited to, any of the following: extended deprivation of sleep or rest; forced consumption of food, liquor, beverage, or drugs; beatings; brandings; tests of endurance; or submission of members or prospective members to potentially hazardous or dangerous circumstances. It will not be an acceptable defense to a charge of hazing to claim that the participants took part voluntarily, that they voluntarily assumed the risks or hardship of the activity, or that no injury in fact was suffered.

How to Report Hazing

WIU Hazing Report Form

This form can be filled out anonymously and is intended to be used specifically for hazing allegations. Only with your permission, will your identity be disclosed to the individuals or group in question. Your identity will be held in confidence. You may submit this form anonymously however; doing so may limit the ability of Western Illinois University to fully investigate the incident. You may be asked to submit an official statement on this matter and/or the case may be passed on to student Judicial Programs.

National Anti-Hazing Hotline

1-888-NOT-HAZE (1-888-668-4293) **Note the National Anti-Hazing Hotline is an external entity not directly affiliated with Western Illinois University**

The Anti-Hazing Hotline accepts anonymous hazing reports from anyone. The hotline was established in 2007 by a consortium of national fraternities and sororities. It is currently sponsored by 47 national and international Greek organizations.

The Hotline provides an anonymous telephone line for anyone to report a suspected or recent hazing incident to one number 1-888-NOT-HAZE (1-888-668-4293) that accepts calls 24 hours a day. The Hotline connects to a dedicated voice mailbox at Manley Burke, LPA. The calls are automatically saved as audio files.

In some instances, reports are about athletic teams, bands, or clubs. When those calls are received, the institution where the organization is located is contacted. If it a fraternity or sorority is named, the file is transmitted by e-mail to the headquarters of the fraternity or sorority named in the report.

For more information regarding the National Anti-Hazing Hotline click here.

Additional Resources

Team-building/initiation "type" activities can be beneficial. They should be serious and challenging, help the person find an identity in a group of other students, and give them a sense of belonging. These types of activities, however, are different from hazing in very fundamental ways. Without careful consideration, they can too often degenerate into hazing, where they humiliate, embarrass, degrade, or endanger people.

How can we tell if an event is hazing or otherwise inappropriate? Ask yourself the following questions
  • Is there secrecy around the activity?
  • Is there pressure to participate?
  • Is a specific group or individual singled out?
  • Do members justify it as being a "tradition"? How could you break a long-standing "tradition"? What activities could be introduced to start a new tradition and replace a questionable one?
  • Does this activity promote and conform to the ideals and values of the team/group/college?
  • Will this activity increase long-term feelings of friendship between new and initiated members of the team/group?
  • Take the perspective of your parents – would they be proud? Your coach or advisor? Your professors? The College President?
  • Would you be willing to defend the merit of this activity in a court of law?
  • Does the activity meet both the spirit and letter of the standards prohibiting hazing?
  • How do hazing activities get passed on? Have you been hazed? If yes, do you think you can pass it on to the next class? Is there an expectation to participate?
  • How could the competitive or risk-taking nature of being a college student impact a hazing situation (alcohol consumption, water chugging, high-risk activities AFTER alcohol consumption)?
  • Does your team/group have a unique culture? If yes, what is it? How does hazing fit into that?
  • Does the activity promote and conform to the ideals, values, and mission of the university and the organization?
  • Is it an activity that all members (current and initiates) engage in together?
  • Would the group’s advisor, the national headquarters of a fraternity/sorority, and/or other university officials approve of the activity?
  • Will this activity increase new members’ respect for the group and all members?
  • Is the activity free of mental anguish or physical discomfort?
  • Does the activity have inherent value in and of itself?
Types of hazing activities but not limited to this list:
  • any activity that promotes a class system within organizations or activities, which facilitates inappropriate levels of authority over students
  • marching in line
  • wearing conspicuous apparel, not generally in good taste, and/or inappropriate for the time of year
  • carrying of an object for a set period
  • calisthenics
  • line-ups
  • pledge/signature books
  • periods of silence (limited contact with non-members)
  • social isolation
  • threats
  • skit nights
  • standing for a length of time
  • personal servitude
  • activities that would not normally construe hazing but because of time, place, or manner make them inappropriate, such as scavenger hunts & road trips
  • sleep deprivation or interruption of consecutive sleep hours
  • expected or forced consumption of food, drink (including alcohol), or other substance
  • acts of humiliation or degradation (including streaking or wearing degrading or humiliating apparel)
  • restrictions on eating or bathing
  • acts that disrupt academic instruction or learning of others
  • interruption or interference with academic commitments
  • branding
  • paddling in any form
  • compromising (sexual) situations
How Hazing Is Justified

Moral Disengagement (Bandura, 2002): Gradual disengagement of moral self-sanction.
Behavior normally viewed as immoral, even reprehensible, becomes more benign, acceptable, or worthy in a particular social setting through cognitive restructuring over time.

Action Steps
  • Define up front what is acceptable and what is not acceptable.
  • Ensure the planned activity could not be considered, by definition, hazing.
  • Don’t let others justify hazing as "tradition."
  • BREAK THE SILENCE and voice your opinion.
  • Choose not to participate.
  • Speak with fellow group members and the group leadership about your concerns.
  • Talk to an administrator/coach/advisor, etc.
  • Come up with new activities that promote team/group bonding without any risk of it being considered hazing.
  • Get those involved to stop and think about the people they are hazing (perspective-taking). Is there any chance hazing could trigger something in terms of personal/ emotional challenges they have had to face in their life?
More Resources

Important to know – all group activities and behaviors, given the circumstances, could become hazing. If the activity is used to exert control over another person or humiliate, degrade, abuse, or endanger them, there are power dynamics at play and harm (psychological, emotional, physical) being inflicted. That is hazing. See the We Don’t Haze film and companion discussion and activity guides for more information and education on considering activity circumstances that can turn haze free activities into hazing based activities.

National Hazing Prevention Week

SAVE THE DATE: September 23-27, 2024

Date Program Location Time
Monday, September 23, 2024      
Tuesday, September 24, 2024      
Wednesday, September 25, 2024      
Thursday, September 26, 2024