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Hazing Prevention

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center is committed to ending hazing. To accomplish this goal, it’s important that we work together to identify hazing, act on it, and prevent it.
Are you or someone you know being hazed? Please contact Student Conduct and Community Standards at 901.448.1646 or
Identify It.

What is Hazing? 

Hazing endangers the mental or physical health/safety or coerces someone to endanger their mental or physical health/safety, REGARDLESS of one’s willingness to participate

Identifying what types of activities could be hazing and knowing what signs might indicate someone is being hazed is the first step in preventing hazing.

Types of hazing and examples:

  • Verbal abuse: being yelled at, threatened, or intimidated
  • Personal servitude: getting someone’s meals, serving as their driver
  • Social isolation: not being allowed to spend time with other people/groups
  • Embarrassing activities: wearing an article of clothing against their choice, having someone ask another person uncomfortable questions
  • Power imbalance: older individual(s) with more power asking others to complete pointless tasks
  • Sleep deprivation: attending meetings at obscure hours, driving people around late at night
  • Pointless tasks: completing tasks that have nothing to do with the organization’s purpose
  • Forced or coerced alcohol: drinking games, rapid or mass consumption of alcohol
  • Physical requirements: pushups, running, forced exercise outside of the organization’s mission

Signs that someone might be experiencing hazing:

  • Sudden change in behavior or attitude after joining the organization
  • Wanting to leave the organization with no real explanation
  • Sudden decrease in communication with friends and family
  • Physical or psychological exhaustion
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Unexplained injuries or illness
  • Change in sleeping or eating habits
  • Withdrawal from normal activities
  • Expressed feeling of sadness or feeling of worthlessness
  • Increase in secrecy and unwillingness to share details

Is this activity hazing?

If the answer is “yes” to any of these questions, the activity is probably hazing.

  • Would I feel uncomfortable participating in this activity if my family, a university administrator, or the media were watching?
  • Would active/older members of the group refuse to participate?
  • Would I get in trouble if a university administrator walked by and saw us?
  • Am I being asked to keep these activities a secret?
  • Am I doing anything illegal?
  • Does this activity violate my values/my organization’s values?
  • Do members defend this as “tradition?”
  • Is this activity pointless/adding no value to the organization?
  • Is this activity causing emotional and/or physical distress to myself/others?
Myth: Hazing is Tradition. 
Fact: Traditions are created by groups, and groups hold the power to change or eliminate them. It only takes one year to break a hazing tradition. Remember that the founding members of organizations were not hazed.
Myth: Hazing makes better members. 
Fact: People will behave how you treat them. Hazing motivates people out of fear and anxiety.
Myth: The intent was not harmful.
Fact: There does not need to be malicious intent for hazing to occur. Hazing often takes place when the hazers did not intend any harm.
Myth: Hazing builds unity.
Fact: Hazing isolates each member from the established group. It does not promote organizational unity.
Myth: Hazing teaches respect. 
Fact: Respect and pride are earned, not demanded or taught. When respect is earned, there is also trust.
Myth: A little hazing is ok. 
Fact: Even a little hazing is still hazing, and typically becomes more serious over time.
Myth: New members must earn their membership.
Fact: People want and need to be challenged, but in the right way.
Myth: If you volunteer for an activity, it's not hazing.
Fact: Hazing occurs regardless of a person’s willingness to participate. Human beings want to belong; the desire to “fit in” is as essential to our emotional and physical well being as food and safety.
Myth: We never laid hands on them, therefore no hazing occurred.
Fact: Verbal and emotional abuse can be just as damaging as physical abuse.
Myth: Hazing only occurs in sororities and fraternities.

Fact: Top areas where hazing occurs as identified through a 2018 University of Tennessee, Knoxville survey:

  • Fraternity or sorority
  • Faith-based organization
  • Performing Arts
  • Academic Club
  • Sport Club
  • Service Organization
  • Athletic Team
  • Student Government


UT Code of ConductSECTION 4.10 HAZING

Any intentional or reckless act, on or off University- controlled property, by one (1) student, acting alone or with others, which is directed against any other student, which endangers the mental or physical health, safety, or welfare of that student, or which induces or coerces a student to endanger their mental or physical health, safety, or welfare.

“Hazing” does not include customary athletic events or similar contests or competitions and is limited to those actions taken and situations created in connection with initiation into or affiliation with any organization.


Act on It.

If you identify something that might be hazing, it is important to act on it by asking questions, trusting your gut, and responding to the situation.

Ask clarifying questions

Be direct and ask! Don’t automatically assume something is hazing. Ask clarifying questions to help determine if a behavior is hazing or someone is being hazed.

Approaching these conversations is situational. It is important to build rapport with the individual.

“How have you been recently?”
“I’ve noticed ________. Can you tell me about that?” 

  • You haven’t been completing assignments
  • You’ve missed meetings
  • Your appearance has changed
  • You look tired

Trust your gut

Even if someone says they are not being hazed, if you still have concerns, move forward with responding. Remember that hazing occurs even if a person wants to participate.


If you believe someone is being hazed, report the behavior in as much detail as possible.

  • Organization name
  • When and where the event(s) occurred
  • Videos, screenshots, or pictures can be uploaded directly in the reporting form
  • Names of individuals involved (if known)
  • How you became aware of the information

Hazing reports can be made anonymously.

Report Hazing

Staying silent puts your fellow students at risk. Silence only encourages the behavior to continue. Check out these tips on how to speak up.

Are you or someone you know being hazed?

Hazing can affect people in many different ways including: anger, confusion, betrayal, fear, resentment, embarrassment, humiliation, hopelessness, helplessness, anxiety and/or depression. If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these feelings, contact 901.448.1646 or

Know that you are not alone and there are resources to support you. Listed below are links to resources:

  • SASSI Student Counseling 
  • Monday-Friday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm: 901.448.5056
  • After Hours Line: 901.690.CARE
  • National Hazing Hotline: 888.668.4293
Prevent It.

Prevent It.

As members of the Volunteer community, we must all work together to end hazing.

Be proactive in preventing hazing

  1. Know the rules
  2. Clarify expectations of membership
    • Members should be clear and transparent with new members about what they will encounter when they join the group.
  3. Hold yourself and your peers accountable
  4. When planning activities, consider:
    • What are the potential outcomes?
    • How does this activity align with the core values of the group?
    • What do you want members to gain from the experience?
    • What do you want your organizational culture to be? What you permit, you promote. The culture of any organization is shaped by the worst behavior leaders are willing to tolerate.
  5. Provide alternative activities for bonding
Report Hazing.

Report Hazing

It is important to report  behavior that you’ve identified might be hazing.

Please use this Reporting Form  or contact Student Conduct and Community Standards at 901.448.1646 or

When reporting, please include as many of the following details as possible:

  • Organization name
  • When/where the event(s) occurred
  • Videos, screenshots, or pictures (they can be uploaded directly in the Reporting Form)
  • Names of individuals involved (if known)
  • How you became aware of the information

Note: Hazing reports can be made anonymously.

National Hazing Statistics.
  • 55% of college students have been hazed.
  • 9 out of 10 people don’t realize they are being hazed.
  • 95% of those who were aware they were being hazed did not report it.
  • 82% of hazing deaths were alcohol related.
  • 47% of students have been hazed before coming to college.
  • 25% of students have been hazed before age 13.

National data was primarily sourced from the national study Hazing in View: Students at Risk conducted by Elizabeth Allan, PhD and Mary Madden, PhD.


Aug 14, 2023