Hazing News


Hazing Common At U.S. Colleges

Published On Monday, March 17, 2008  1:19 AM
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Almost a year after the College revised a policy to reduce hazing on campus, a national study found that over half of all college students involved in school organizations experience the phenomenon.

The study—which was conducted by Elizabeth J. Allan and Mary L. Madden, both associate professors at the University of Maine—found that 55 percent of students had encountered some form of hazing. Nine out of 10 students who had been hazed by the report’s standards said they did not think they had been hazed.

The report defines hazing 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.”

Researches surveyed 11,482 undergraduates at 53 colleges and universities across the nation. Three hundred students were also interviewed.

Examples of hazing include alcohol consumption, sleep deprivation, and sex acts, according to the report.

“The goal was to look at the extent and nature of hazing,” Madden said in a phone interview yesterday.

According to Madden, there has only been one other comprehensive study of hazing, which looked at Division I athletics.

Madden said that one objective of the study was to increase awareness of hazing, as well as an understanding of why it is a generally accepted part of campus life.

“Hazing is a complex problem,” she said. “Different people, depending on where they fit, are going to see it differently.”

Last spring, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences changed Harvard’s Handbook for Students to hold student officers responsible for any hazing that occurs within their ranks. All student officers—even those responsible for non-affiliated clubs—must register with the College under the new policy.

The policy has met with mixed reviews from group leaders.

“I think it’s an extremely effective policy,” said Harvard-Radcliffe Television President Michael C. Koenigs ’09. “It’s limited hazing across the board.”

But not all students agree with the strict policy.

“I’m uncertain whether holding students responsible to this extent is the most effective method,” said Tamar Holoshitz ’10, a member of the Undergraduate Council’s Student Affairs Committee. “But I do appreciate that the administration is trying to work on this.”

By Hank Nuwer

Journalist Hank Nuwer is the Alaska author of Hazing: Destroying Young Lives; Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His current book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press. He is married to Malgorzata Wroblewska Nuwer of Warsaw, Poland and Fairbanks, Alaska. Nuwer is a former columnist for the Greenville (Ohio)Early Bird and former managing editor of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner in Alaska.
Nuwer was named the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists columnist of the year in 2021 for his “After Darke” column in the Early Bird. He also won third place for the column in 2022 from the Indiana chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He and his wife Gosia, recently of Union City, Ind., have owned 20 acres in Alaska for many years. “The move is a sort-of coming home for us,” said Nuwer. As a journalist, he’s written about the Alaskan Iditarod sled-dog race and other Alaska topics. Read his musings in his blog at Real Alaska Daily-- and in his weekly column "Far from Randolph" in the Winchester Star-Gazette of Randolph County, Indiana.

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