Hazing in View: College Students at Risk
Initial Findings from the National Study of Student Hazing
March 11, 2008
Elizabeth J. Allan, Ph.D., Associate Professor
Mary Madden, Ph.D., Associate Professor
College of Education and Human Development
Documented problems related to student hazing include physical and
psychological harm and even death. Hazing in View: College Students at
Risk provides the initial Findings of the National Study of Student
Hazing. The research is based on the analysis of 11,482 survey
responses from undergraduate students enrolled at 53 colleges and
universities and more than 300 interviews with students and campus
personnel at 18 of those institutions.
For this study, hazing was defined as "any activity expected of
someone joining or participating in a group that humiliates, degrades,
abuses, or endangers them regardless of a person's willingness to
participate." The following Findings are discussed in the report:
- 55% of college students involved in clubs, teams, and
organizations experience hazing.
- Hazing occurs in, but extends beyond, varsity athletics and
Greek-letter organizations and includes behaviors that are abusive,
dangerous, and potentially illegal.
- Alcohol consumption, humiliation, isolation, sleep- deprivation,
and sex acts are hazing practices common across types of student
- There are public aspects to student hazing including: 25% of
coaches or organization advisors were aware of the group's hazing
behaviors; 25% of the behaviors occurred on-campus in a public space;
in 25% of hazing experiences, alumni were present; and students talk
with peers (48%, 41%) or family (26%) about their hazing experiences.
- In more than half of the hazing incidents, a member of the
offending group posts pictures on a public web space.
- More students perceive positive rather than negative outcomes of
- In 95% of the cases where students identified their experience as
hazing, they did not report the events to campus officials.
- Students recognize hazing as part of the campus culture; 69% of
students who belonged to a student activity reported they were aware
of hazing activities occurring in student organizations other than
- Students report limited exposure to hazing prevention efforts that
extend beyond a "hazing is not tolerated" approach.
- 47% of students come to college having experienced hazing.
- Nine out of ten students who have experienced hazing behavior in
college do not consider themselves to have been hazed.
Researchers provide general recommendations for campus personnel,
college and university administrators, and those working with college
- Design hazing prevention efforts to be broad and inclusive of all
students involved in campus organizations and athletic teams.
- Make a serious commitment to educate the campus community about
the dangers of hazing; send a clear message that hazing will not be
tolerated and that those engaging in hazing behaviors will be held
- Broaden the range of groups targeted for hazing prevention
education to include all students, campus staff, administrators,
faculty, alumni, and family members.
- Design intervention and prevention efforts that are research-based
and systematically evaluate them to assess their effectiveness.
- Involve all students in hazing prevention efforts and introduce
these early in students' campus experience (i.e., orientation).
- Design prevention efforts to be more comprehensive than simply
one-time presentations or distribution of anti-hazing policies.
This is the first in a series of reports to be released from the data
collected in this investigation. Subsequent reports will examine other
aspects of the data in more depth including: recommendations for hazing
prevention, gender differences in hazing, high school hazing
experiences, hazing within particular types of student groups, and
regional and institutional-type comparisons of student hazing.
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