HAZING PREVENTION

Villanova students are called to demonstrate respect, dignity, and care for each member of their student organization.

Villanova University has traditions and so do many of our student organizations. It is expected that these traditions align with the mission of your organization and of Villanova University. It is also expected that these traditions have a positive impact. Student leaders and all Villanovans are called to demonstrate respect, dignity and care for each and every student.

 

UNDERSTANDING HAZING

Pennsylvania State Law provides definitions and regulations surrounding hazing, in addition to Villanova's policies against hazing found in the Code of Student Conduct.

There are countless stories in the news regarding hazing incidents on- and off-campuses, some of which result in serious injury and death. Please know that hazing is not a tradition or event that you or your organization want to be a part of. Your actions should never support or be involved with hazing behaviors.

For purposes of Villanova's Code of Student Conduct, the term hazing means any intentional, knowing or reckless action or situation that, for purposes of initiation or admission into or affiliation with an organization, or as a condition for continued or enhanced membership in an organization, endangers the mental or physical health, safety, well-being, or dignity of an individual, or destroys or removes public or private property.

 Hazing includes, without limitation:

  • Any brutality of a physical nature, such as whipping, beating, branding, forced or coerced calisthenics, or exposure to the elements;
  • Brutality of a mental, emotional or sexual nature;
  • Forced or coerced consumption of any food, alcohol, drug or other substance;
  • Sleep deprivation;
  • Forced or coerced exclusion from social contact;
  • Forced or coerced conduct which is illegal, indecent, obscene, or could result in extreme embarrassment;
  • Any other forced or coerced activity, which could adversely affect the physical health, safety, mental health, or dignity of an individual or group;
  • Any other conduct prohibited as hazing under applicable State or Federal law. 

Any activity as described in this definition shall be presumed to be forced and/or coerced, the willingness of an individual to participate in such activity notwithstanding.

Consider all the experiences individuals have that others may not know about. These experiences can impact how a student responds to others. With this in mind, it’s critical to realize new and active members may:

  • Struggle with depression or other mental health issues
  • Have experienced sexual violence and may be struggling with the aftermath
  • Hold identities that are not visible
  • Be part of a family with a history of alcohol and/or other drug abuse
  • Have suffered the loss of a family member or close friend
  • Struggle with addiction
  • Have a history of suicidal thoughts
  • Take medication for or participate in counseling for mental or physical health
  • Have been abused physically or emotionally in previous relationships
  • Have been hazed or bullied previously
  • Simply not feel comfortable with certain activities or behaviors required of them

 

Hidden Harm is based on the following:

  • It is impossible to know everything about members of our organizations.
  • A member could have experienced something in the past, or have an invisible character trait, that could make that person highly susceptible to serious mental or physical harm, if hazed.
  • Hazing can be physically and/or psychologically harmful to even those who seem perfectly healthy.
  • Hazing combined with any other challenge an individual might experience can result in an increased risk of harm for that person (and others).

Villanova University

Hazing is strictly prohibited by Villanova University. Individuals and organizations found in violation of these policies will be held accountable. Permission or approval by a person being hazed is not a defense. Students joining clubs or organizations on campus should not tolerate such behavior, as it does not promote relationship-building and trust, and rather serves to break down morale and the notion of community upon which Villanova University was founded.

Code of Student Conduct - Hazing Policy

Hazing is absolutely prohibited. For purposes of Villanova's Code of Student Conduct, the term 'hazing' means any intentional, knowing, or reckless action or situation that, for purposes of initiation or admission into or affiliation with an organization, or as a condition for continued or enhanced membership in an organization, endangers the mental or physical health, safety, well-being, or dignity of an individual, or destroys or removes public or private property.

 Hazing includes, without limitation:

  • Any brutality of a physical nature, such as whipping, beating, branding, forced or coerced calisthenics, or exposure to the elements;
  • Brutality of a mental, emotional or sexual nature;
  • Forced or coerced consumption of any food, alcohol, drug or other substance;
  • Sleep deprivation;
  • Forced or coerced exclusion from social contact;
  • Forced or coerced conduct which is illegal, indecent, obscene, or could result in extreme embarrassment;
  • Any other forced or coerced activity, which could adversely affect the physical health, safety, mental health, or dignity of an individual or group;
  • Any other conduct prohibited as hazing under applicable State or Federal law.

Any activity as described in this definition shall be presumed to be forced and/or coerced, the willingness of an individual to participate in such activity notwithstanding. Permission or approval by the person being hazed is not a defense.

In the case of individual students, violation of this policy may result in the full range of sanctions under this Code, up to and including suspension or expulsion, as well as removal from the organization, community service, or restitution. In the case of organizations, violations of this policy may result in the full range of sanctions under this Code, up to and including suspension or loss of recognition, as well as community service or restitution. The prohibition against hazing applies to acts conducted on- or off-campus. For more information please view the University's full Anti-Hazing Policy.

The Pennsylvania state law on antihazing is formally known as the Timothy J. Piazza Antihazing Law. The University's Timothy J. Piazza Anit-Hazing Law biannual report is available for viewing.

If someone isn’t sure whom to talk to, connecting with a Villanova staff member is a good place to start.  Phone calls to Student Life or Public Safety are welcome for information on how to support a friend or loved one following a hazing incident.

Reporting Resources:

Anonymous Reporting

Although the University encourages a Complainant to talk with someone directly, the University does provide an anonymous on-line reporting option, Ethics Point.

Please understand that under certain circumstances, the University may have an obligation to act upon the information you provide even if you request that the University take no action beyond recording the incident. For example, the University will need to investigate situations that may threaten the safety of individuals or the Villanova community.
Privacy Considerations

The University is committed to protecting the privacy of all individuals involved in a hazing report. In conducting an appropriate investigation, University investigators and administrators are sensitive to the desire of individuals for privacy. However, to conduct an effective investigation it is often necessary to share details that may compromise confidentiality. If the University is able to honor the request for confidentiality, the Complainant must understand that Villanova's ability to meaningfully investigate the incident and pursue disciplinary action may be limited. The Complainant is always free to decide whether and how she/he wants to be involved in the investigation and disciplinary process, if any, that follows.

Additional Resources:

PARENTS
At Villanova University, we believe students should not experience harm or intimidation while pursuing involvement in campus life.   If your student discloses a hazing incident they experienced, or you suspect hazing has occurred, please discuss the importance of sharing this information with the university.

Reporting hazing is not about getting students or their friends in trouble.  It is about keeping students and the people they care about safe.

STUDENTS

As bystanders, we all have a choice: do nothing, do something to prevent or stop a situation from worsening, or do something to make the situation worse. We are all called, as Villanovans, to do something to prevent or stop a situation from worsening. There are many ways to intervene.

We know that:

  • Most problems begin in group settings where we are less likely to intervene.
  • Friends are usually in a better position to do something.
  • You will be in a situation in which you can help in the future.
  • We all have a responsibility to look out for one another.

To learn more, attend a Bystander Intervention Training offered at Villanova.

FACULTY AND STAFF
As part of the Villanova Community, faculty and staff have a tremendous amount of daily student interaction. Faculty and staff partnership is vital for effective campus-wide hazing prevention efforts. Whether you are advising a student organization, teaching a class, coaching a team or walking through campus, it is important to know the warning signs of hazing and how to report a hazing incident.

All members of the Villanova community serve as active bystanders to create a community without hazing. Being an active bystander means becoming educated about what hazing is and the detrimental effects it has on those being hazed. Being an active bystander also means knowing how to report hazing, supporting students who may have been hazed and educating members of the campus community who may still believe hazing is acceptable.

If you have questions or concerns, please call the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, 610-519-7280.

CLUB SPORTS
The Club Sports Program at Villanova University is committed to providing the university community opportunities for participation in a wide variety of athletic and recreational activities. Our club teams aim to enhance the overall university experience through the creation of an environment where students unite in diverse groups to achieve common goals and objectives. The philosophy of the Club Sports Program is to support the best elements of competition, instruction and recreation by providing the opportunity for all students to participate and excel in a team setting through the development of the total individual: intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, culturally, socially, and physically.

Club Sports are student-initiated and student-managed. Club members are actively involved in determining the objectives and procedures of their club.  The organizational and decision-making duties of each club are the responsibility of the members and their officers.  Successful and thriving clubs are those with active members and dedicated officers and leaders that show dignity and respect to all members.

STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS

To foster the goal of developing the total person, Villanova offers over 250 student clubs and organizations. These include the Campus Activities Team, Special Olympics, the Student Government Association, academic organizations, sports and recreational organizations, service organizations, multicultural organizations, honor societies, political organizations, professional societies, media organizations, Peace and Justice organizations, Campus Ministry organizations, Rays of Sunshine (weekly service) and Music Activities. The list seems endless, and there is definitely something for everyone.

Being active in the community outside of the classroom gives students the opportunity to learn valuable communication, time-management and leadership skills. Participating in welcoming co-curricular activities is a great way to get to know fellow students.

FRATERNITIES AND SORORITIES
Fraternities and sororities thrive at Villanova, with missions that seek to evoke leadership qualities in members through engagement in academic, service, philanthropic, and social initiatives. The Fraternity and Sorority community at Villanova University has grown tremendously over the last century. Today, it consists of nearly 2,000 students in eight Interfraternity Council fraternities, nine Panhellenic Council sororities and nine Multicultural Greek Council organizations, all with inter/national affiliations.

Hazing, in any form, is strictly prohibited by Villanova University, the Interfraternity, Panhellenic, and Multicultural Greek Councils, and the local and inter/national offices of each recognized organization. New and active members should not tolerate such behavior, as it does not promote relationship-building and trust, and rather serves to break down morale and the notion of community upon which Villanova University was founded.

DIVISION I ATHLETICS
Villanova Athletics supports over 600 Division I student-athletes across 24 programs. As Villanova Wildcats, we strive to build our foundation upon our core values: Veritas, Unitas and Caritas. To that end, our top priorities as a department include: graduating complete student-athletes; upholding our tradition of excellence in academics and athletics; and committing to live with integrity and character. We are a community where each of us strengthens all of us. Our students, staff and coaches come from all over the world to wear the blue and white and to compete with a relentless spirit and passion.

There can be no greater violation to the vitality of our team spirit within the Villanova Athletics community than any act of hazing. All Division I student-athletes are expected to follow the policy of Villanova University with regards to hazing; hazing within our teams is absolutely prohibited, and this includes any form of hazing: embarrassment, harassment or ridicule, or acts that constitute emotional or physical harm to any members of a team, whether new or not. Student-Athletes receive on-going education and reminders about making positive decisions in the moments that matter. Every member of our community should feel welcomed and safe from the moment they arrive at Villanova. We feel it is very important to know the policies regarding hazing and the resources available to any member of our community.

Hazing is a Societal Problem.
Fact: Hazing is a societal problem. Hazing incidents have frequently been documented in the military, athletic teams, marching bands and other performance groups, religious cults, professional schools, and other types of clubs and/or organizations. Reports of hazing activities are on the rise in high schools.

Hazing is victimization.
Fact: Hazing is an act of power and control over others--it is victimization. Hazing is pre-meditated and not accidental. Hazing is abusive, degrading, and sometimes life-threatening.
    
Bad things happen when we least expect it.
Fact: Even if there isn’t any malicious intent, safety may still be a factor in traditional hazing activities that are considered to be “all in good fun.” Keep in mind: Bad things happen when we least expect them to. Hazing activities serve no purpose in promoting the growth and development of group members.
    
Human dignity is harmed when individuals or groups are marginalized, ignored or devalued.
Fact: An individual or group’s sense of self-respect, self-worth, physical and psychological integrity, and empowerment, is called human dignity. Human dignity is inherent in every human being. Human dignity is harmed when individuals and groups are marginalized, ignored, or devalued. Discipline is designed to foster respect for self and others. Hazing is harmful to the dignity and self-respect of new members and is the opposite of true discipline.

Hazing can occur even with the consent of the victim.
Fact: In Pennsylvania, consent of the victim cannot be used as a defense in a civil suit. This is because even if someone agrees to participate in a potentially hazardous action, it may not be true consent because of peer pressure, intentional or unintentional threats, and the withholding of information about what will occur.

Hazing can be difficult to recognize.
Fact:  If something seems wrong it probably is. But sometimes hazing can be difficult to recognize. Therefore, if you’re unsure, always talk with your organization leaders and advisors, and refer to the policies and definitions of hazing before partaking in any organizational activity.

Tradition DOES NOT justify subjecting new members to dangerous actions.

Fact: “Tradition” does not justify subjecting new members to dangerous action. 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… these “traditions” were created at a later time. One class can break the "tradition" of hazing - it just takes courage and integrity to do what is right.

Hazing does not foster sustainable trust, unity or respect..
Fact: Hazing may seemingly create unity among new members, but there are often larger costs involved. The effect of hazing in a group can be like the effect of a hurricane on a community: residents feel closer to each other afterward but some may be suffering. More often, hazing builds animosity between people and does nothing to foster trust, unity, or respect.
    
Breaking free from hazing or standing up to a group of peers shows strength.

Fact: Many people submit to hazing because they desire acceptance by others, are afraid to resist, or feel a need to prove to themselves or others they are worthy or tough (i.e. “a real man”). These motives reflect conformity, fear, and insecurity, which are not qualities typically associated with strength. In contrast, standing up to a group of peers or breaking free from hazing shows strength.
   
69% of students say they are aware of hazing behaviors
Fact: Hazing in View: College Students at Risk
   
Photos of the hazing activities were posted on public web spaces.
Fact: In more than half of hazing experiences, students reported that photos of the activities were posted on public web spaces.

 

 

REPORT HAZING

In the case of an emergency situation:


TIMOTHY J. PIAZZA
ANTI-HAZING LAW

 

 

Campus Resources
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Selected Student Handbook Policies

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