Frequently Asked Questions
Hazing is widely defined as any action taken or situation created intentionally that causes embarrassment, harassment or ridicule and risks emotional and/or physical harm to members of a group or team whether new or not, regardless of the person's willingness to participate. (HazingPrevention.org)
Stony Brook University’s Code of Student Responsibility Section defines hazing as:Whether by omission or commission, no student shall take any action, or create, or participate in the creation of any situation that recklessly or intentionally endangers another person's psychological, mental, or physical health or involves the forced or expected consumption of liquor or drugs for the purpose of initiation into or affiliation with any organization. Examples of hazing activities include, but are not limited to: paddling, branding, tattooing, shaving of hair, or other physical abuse or brutality; activities that involve excessive fatigue and/or stress; verbal and/or psychological abuse that compromises the dignity of any individual.
Hazing conduct may result in individual charges and arrest under the New York State Penal Law, and charges under the Code, which can lead to suspension or expulsion from the University. Hazing conduct may also result in group sanctions, such as the extension of the current suspension; and/or the suspension or permanent expulsion of the organization from future campus recognition.
Hazing at first starts as activities that group members perceive as harmless. Over time these activities escalate in risk and become more dangerous. The risk level and outcomes of hazing can often catch participants by surprise. Some factors that influence the severity of hazing include alcohol, the need for and establishment of power dynamics, peer pressure, and groupthink. These variables can often impair decision-making and increase the severity of hazing.
Did you know? (HazingPreventionNetwork.org)
- Hazing occurs in sports teams, clubs, fraternities and sororities, cheerleading, honor societies and more
- Hazing is about power and control. Hazing does not create unity
- More than half of students in colleges and universities involved in clubs, sports teams and organizations have experienced forms of hazing
- Many hazing incidents and deaths involve alcohol consumption
- Students are more likely to be hazed if they knew someone else who was hazed
- 2 in 5 students say they are aware of hazing taking place on their campus
- Hazing occurs in middle schools, high schools and colleges
Reporting suspicions or incidents of hazing can help change these statistics.
- Forced activities for new recruits to ‘prove’ their worth to join
- Forced or required consumption of alcohol
- Requirement to eat spicy foods, other substances
- Requirement to endure hardships such as staying awake, menial tasks, physical labor, running while blindfolded, etc.
- Humiliation of new or potential members
- Isolation of new or potential members
- Beatings, paddling, or other physical acts against new or potential members
- Requirements for new or potential members to do things established members are not required to do
- Illegal activities such as requirement to steal local items as part of a scavenger hunt
If you are not sure whether something happening to you or someone else is hazing, ask yourself these questions?
- Would I feel comfortable participating in this activity if my loved ones were watching?
- Would we get in trouble if a college administrator walked by and saw us?
- Am I being asked to keep these activities a secret?
- Am I doing anything illegal?
- Does participation in this activity violate my personal values or those of this organization?
- Is this causing emotional or physical distress or stress to myself or to others?
- Am I going to be able to get a job if I have to put a criminal arrest on my application?
Don’t be a bystander when it comes to hazing.You can report hazing using any of the methods below:
- Emergencies and concerns for health and safety should always be reported immediately to law enforcement. Contact University Police at 333 from campus phones or (631) 632-3333 from non-campus phones. Contact local police by calling 9-1-1.
- File an Incident Report at our Hazing Prevention website.
- This form is not monitored outside of normal business hours or on university holidays. If anyone is experiencing harm or is in imminent danger, please contact the police.
- Report to any campus faculty, staff, or administrator. If preferred you may report to staff without providing personally identifying information. Please contact the respective office/staff member and state you wish to schedule a meeting either in person, over the phone, or via Zoom without providing your name.
- Follow Stony Brook’s Good Samaritan Policy.
When reporting your privacy will be maintained to the greatest extent possible to encourage members of the community to come forward without fear of reprisal. You may be contacted by investigators from the appropriate department. Our ability to investigate hazing incidents depends on the accuracy and specificity of the information you provide. You are encouraged to provide as much detail as possible so that appropriate action can be taken to address the behavior.Any reports containing Title IX violations are required to be reported to the appropriate offices, including reporter information.
You have the option to report anonymously but it is not encouraged. Anonymous reports make it difficult to complete a full investigation and subsequently bring charges against an organization due to our inability to follow up, confirm or verify the information presented.
When reporting, please be prepared to provide the following information as best as you can and provide as much detail as possible:
- Your contact information (name, phone number, and email address)
- Name of the organization/s you are reporting.
- When and where it occurred and who was involved.
- Names and contact information of other people that were present or can corroborate the information you are providing (if available).
- Any documentation or photographs you may have.
Yes, you have the option to report anonymously but it is not encouraged. Anonymous reports make it difficult complete a full investigation and subsequently bring charges against an organization due to our inability to follow up, confirm or verify the information presented. Reporters privacy will be maintained to the greatest extent possible to encourage members of the community to come forward without fear of reprisal. You may be contacted by investigators from the appropriate department. Our ability to investigate hazing incidents depends on the accuracy and specificity of the information you provide. You are encouraged to provide as much detail as possible so that appropriate action can be taken to address the behavior. Any reports containing Title IX violations are required to be reported to the appropriate offices, including reporter information.
After you report, an investigation will begin to determine if there is sufficient information to proceed and for action to be taken. You may be contacted by the appropriate office to provide more information on your report. Our ability to investigate hazing incidents depends on the accuracy and specificity of the information you provide. You are encouraged to provide as much detail as possible so that appropriate action can be taken to address the behavior.
Once a report of hazing is received, there is an obligation to investigate the case for the safety of all parties involved.
Yes, Stony Brook University has a Hazing Amnesty policy. As stated in the Code of Student Responsibility:
The University recognizes that students may be reluctant to report hazing activity due to a fear of potential consequences for their own conduct. Therefore, a student who acts in good faith to report activity that may fall within the definition of hazing and who cooperates fully as a witness in the investigation and student conduct process may not be subject to student conduct sanctions related to their own participation in hazing behavior, as determined by the University in its sole discretion. In the event amnesty is granted for self-reported behaviors, if evidence is presented that the student has continued to engage in hazing behaviors, or has knowledge of hazing activity that was not reported, they may be held accountable for past behavior. Students who choose to report and request amnesty for their own conduct under this policy should know that amnesty does not apply to any criminal or civil action that may be taken by a law enforcement or other agency, including University Police. To learn more or report an incident please visit: stonybrook.edu/hazingprevention
If you have any questions about what hazing is, what could be considered hazing, would like to discuss practices of your group, or need assistance improving the effectiveness of your organization’s new member process, please contact the Department of Student Engagement at email@example.com. If your organization is a fraternity/sorority please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance. If your organization is a club sport, reach out to email@example.com for assistance.
The Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards (SCCS) receives, investigates, and resolves alleged violations of the Code of Student Responsibility involving (non-academic) misconduct by students, including any person who has accepted admittance to the University, undergraduates, graduates, professional students, and certificate program participants, matriculated and non-matriculated students, regardless of the number of credits the person is enrolled in.
Any member of the University community (Student, Faculty, Staff) or visitor to the campus, may bring a complaint to the attention of the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards. The Code may be applied to off-campus violations when students are participating in University-sanctioned activities, such as sporting events, field trips, conferences, or are exercising privileges granted to Stony Brook students. In addition, the Code may be applied to off-campus violations if such violations are deemed to adversely affect the safety and security of the University, University property or individual members of the University community.
To learn more about the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards and the Code of Student Responsibility, visit: stonybrook.edu/sccs
The Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards is completely independent of criminal proceedings, and procedures under both may take place concurrently. The Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards is administrative rather than criminal, or civil in nature. It does not use technical "rules of related information" and requires lower standards of proof to reach a conclusion. This lower standard of proof is known as a "preponderance of evidence" and indicates that it is "more likely than not" that an incident did, or did not occur.
Student Life works with Student Conduct and Community Standards (SCCS) with regard to investigations and adjudication of alleged hazing violations, in addition to providing support and advisement for those involved (i.e. individual students and organizations). Student Life coordinates virtual and in-person training and education on hazing prevention and awareness.
If you have any questions about what hazing is, what could be considered hazing, would like to discuss practices of your group, or need assistance improving the effectiveness of your organization’s new member process, please contact Student Engagement & Activities at firstname.lastname@example.org or Fraternity and Sorority Life at email@example.com.
University student conduct proceedings are confidential and subject to strict confidentiality on the part of the University in a manner consistent with all applicable laws.
As a general rule, violations of the Code and the sanctions that may be imposed will not be routinely reported to parents. However, in the case of serious violations of Federal, State, or Local law, including alcohol and other drug violations, or when instances of medical/psychological emergencies come to the University’s attention, the University may notify parents in cases where it is believed the student might benefit.
The University does encourage students to inform their parents (as a courtesy) if they have filed a complaint, or have been accused of alleged violations of the Code of Student Responsibility.
If you would like to receive a training or additional resources on what hazing is, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a meeting.
The following links are resources that can help you better understand hazing:
Material adapted from HazingPrevention.org ‘What Hazing Looks Like” and StopHazing.org ‘Frequently Asked Questions’