FRATERNITY & SORORITY HAZING: A PRACTITIONER’S GUIDE TO RELEVANT RESEARCH & RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PREVENTION Elizabeth Allan, Ph.D., Brian Joyce, Ph.D., & Emily Perlow, Ph.D.
Hazing continues to undermine the health and safety of students, their groups, and the larger communities in which they operate. Humiliating, degrading, or having the potential to be physically and/or emotionally harmful, hazing is at odds with the missions of educational institutions and national/international organizations and undermines ethical leadership development and practice. As such, many campus and national/international organization leaders have heeded the call to action to prevent hazing. Despite these concerted efforts, however, hazing persists. Analyses of high-profile and lesser-known cases have illuminated the social complexity of hazing behavior and the limits to traditional prevention approaches. Research can help us to better understand the complex and nuanced factors contributing to, and mitigating or eliminating, hazing behaviors. A developing knowledge base about its prevention holds promise for providing fraternity and sorority professionals with data-driven approaches to guide more effective practice. This white paper is intended as a comprehensive, yet concise review of the literature on the topic of fraternity and sorority hazing and its prevention. In writing this, our goals were to provide readers with a snapshot of the research and to delineate its practical applications for practitioners committed to hazing prevention. Literature Review Whether it was the wearing of certain attire, paddling, forced alcohol or food consumption, competition between first-year and upper-class students, or brutal “pranks” between students, hazing is an unfortunate thread woven into the fabric of college campuses since their early history (Syrett, 2009; Nuwer, 2020; Trota & Johnson, 2004). At least one hazing death has occurred every year in the United States since 1959, with the vast majority occurring within fraternities (Nuwer, 2020)