Read about hazing policies at UCSD and how to report hazing incidents.
The following are some examples of hazing divided into three categories: subtle, harassment, and violent. It is impossible to list all possible hazing behaviors because many are context-specific. While this is not an all-inclusive list, it provides some common examples of hazing traditions.
A. Subtle Hazing
Behaviors that emphasize a power imbalance between new members/rookies and other members of the group or team. Termed “subtle hazing” because these types of hazing are often taken-for-granted or accepted as “harmless” or meaningless. Subtle hazing typically involves activities or attitudes that breach reasonable standards of mutual respect and place new members/rookies on the receiving end of ridicule, embarrassment, and/or humiliation tactics. New members/rookies often feel the need to endure subtle hazing to feel like part of the group or team. (Some types of subtle hazing may also be considered harassment hazing).
B. Harrassment Hazing
Behaviors that cause emotional anguish or physical discomfort in order to feel like part of the group. Harassment hazing confuses, frustrates, and causes undue stress for new members/rookies. (Some types of harassment hazing can also be considered violent hazing).
C. Violent Hazing
Behaviors that have the potential to cause physical and/or emotional, or psychological harm.
Matt's Law, (Senate Bill 1454) sponsored by Tom Torlakson (D-Antioch, CA), is a California law that allows for felony prosecutions when serious injuries or deaths result from hazing rites. The bill increases the severity of charges for some hazing rituals, from misdemeanors to felonies, and for the first time gives prosecutors the ability to seek hazing charges against non students. In a 34-2 vote, Matt’s Law passed the state Senate on May 30th, 2006. On September 19, 2006, the statute was signed into law by governor Arnold Schwarznegger.
Matt's Law was named in memory of Matt Carrington, a 21-year-old California State University, Chico student from Concord, California. Carrington died in the basement of a fraternity house located two short blocks from campus.
Prior to the enactment of Matt's Law, hazing — even in the case of death — was only a misdemeanor, as part of California's education code, rather than punishable under the state's penal code. Matt's law prevents unaffiliated fraternities from using the argument that they cannot be punished for hazing, simply because they are not student organizations. The law also gives prosecutors clear authority to bring charges against anyone or any organization involved in hazing, not just currently enrolled students.
PASSED THE SENATE - AUGUST 30, 2006
PASSED THE ASSEMBLY - AUGUST 24, 2006
INTRODUCED BY Senator Torlakson
February 23, 2006
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:
SEC. 3. Section 245.6 is added to the Penal Code, to read:
(a) This section shall be known and may be cited as "Matt's Law" in memory of Matthew William Carrington, who died on February 2, 2005 as a result of hazing.
(b) As used in this section "hazing" or "haze" is conduct which causes, or is likely to cause, bodily danger, physical harm, or personal degradation or disgrace resulting in physical or mental harm to another person in the course of the other person's preinitiation into, initiation into, affiliation with, holding office in, or maintaining membership in any organization. The terms "hazing" or "haze" do not include customary athletic, fire department, police department, military, or quasi-military training, conditioning, or similar events or activities.
(c) Any person who hazes or conspires to participate in hazing is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than one hundred dollars ($100), nor more than five thousand dollars ($5,000), or imprisonment in the county jail not to exceed one year, or by both fine and imprisonment.
(d) Any person who hazes or conspires to participate in hazing which results in death, great bodily injury, or great psychological injury is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment in the state prison.
(e) An organization is guilty of violating subdivisions (b) or (c) if the organization's agents, directors, trustees, managers, or officers authorized, requested, commanded, encouraged, participated in, ratified, or tolerated the hazing.
(f) The implied or expressed consent of the person or persons against whom the hazing was directed shall not be a defense to any action brought under this section.
(g) This section does not apply to the person against whom the hazing was directed.
(h) This section shall not, in any manner, limit or exclude prosecution or punishment for any other crime or any civil remedy.
(i) The person against whom the hazing is directed may commence a civil action for injury or damages, including mental and physical pain and suffering that results from the hazing. The action may be brought against any participants in the hazing, or any organization whose agents, directors, trustees, managers, or officers authorized, requested, commanded, encouraged, participated in, ratified, or tolerated the hazing. If the organization is a corporation, whether for profit or not, the individual directors of the corporation maybe held individually liable for damages.
SEC. 4. No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.
rev. 4/2007 SA-KW
Review the updated Code below, or download these PDF documents:
To determine if activities are possibly harmful, organizations should consider how acceptable they would be from the perspective of the broader community. The "publicity test" asks the following questions:
If the answer to these questions is "No," your activities are most likely hazing. When in doubt, check with your organization's advisor or coach.
Hazing is a violation of both the UCSD Conduct Code and California law, whether the alleged activities occured on campus or off campus. Student organizations and/or individual students accepting responsibility or found responsible for hazing may be suspended or dismissed from the University in addition to facing potential criminal sanctions, such as prison incarceration and monetary fines. Student organizations, sports clubs, and athletic teams involved in alleged hazing activities may lose their status as campus organizations.
The UC San Diego policy on hazing can be found in the Student Conduct Code. The policy reads as follows:
Section VII (K). Participation in hazing or any method of initiation or pre-initiation of potential, new, or active members into a Student Organization or other activity engaged in by the Student Organization or members of the Student Organization at any time that causes, or is likely to cause, physical injury or personal degradation or disgrace resulting in psychological harm to any Student or other person.
Organizations charged with hazing may argue that an activity wasn't hazing because new members agreed to participate (perhaps due to peer pressure and a desire to fit in). But even if new members agreed to participate, the activity can still be considered hazing.
Another common defense is that rogue members committed the hazing activity, unsanctioned by the organization. However, organizations have lost their campus status for hazing activities performed by members outside the leadership circle. Organization leaders are ultimately responsible for communicating ground rules for new member activities and for monitoring
Any member of the campus, whether affiliated with the offending organization or not, has a responsibility to report hazing. The university takes allegations of hazing seriously and will investigate. UCSD extends its jurisdiction beyond the campus to any location where hazing has occurred.
Located on the third floor of the Price Center (map), the Center for Student Involvement offers hazing education workshops for your organization and can suggest a variety of new member activities, including: