05-09.00 – Hazing Policy

  1. Policy Statement:

    “Hazing” is against the law (Section 3-607, Criminal Law Article, Annotated Code of Maryland) and is strictly prohibited at Towson University (“University”). Hazing risks human lives, mistreats those involved and jeopardizes the affiliation of campus organizations at this University. The most damaging action a campus organization (social, honor, service, athletics) can take is to engage in hazing.

  2. Definitions:

    1. “Hazing” is defined as any action taken or situation created intentionally, whether on or off campus, inflicted on person(s) joining a group or member(s) of a group, that a reasonable person would consider as having the potential to create mental or physical discomfort, embarrassment, harassment, or ridicule, without the individual’s consent. Hazing includes any mental or physical requirement, request, or obligation which emphasizes one individual’s or a group’s power over others and/or a perceived necessity/obligation to participate; that could cause pain, disgrace, or injury; that is personally degrading; and/or that violates federal, state local law or University policy.

      Such activities and situations include, but are not limited to:

      1. Team initiations. 

      2. Kidnapping. 

      3. Requiring inappropriate dress (including, but not limited to: militaristic garb and/or apparel which is conspicuous and not normally in good taste, for the purpose of public embarrassment.) 

      4. Paddling in any form. 

      5. Creation of excessive fatigue for inappropriate reasons. 

      6. Road trips taken that have not been authorized by the University senior administrators (i.e., the Associate Vice President of Campus Life or the Director of Athletics and/or their designees). 

      7. Scavenger hunts without prior approval from the University senior administrators (i.e., the Associate Vice President of Campus Life or the Director of Athletics and/or their designees). 

      8. Inappropriate labor required by a specific group (e.g., labor which is not inherent in the scope of the group’s activities. Examples of labor inherent in the group’s activities would include following appropriate direction given by University representatives with authority over the group, such as coaches or faculty advisors requiring members of the group to put away equipment after using it). 

      9. Mandated branding or tattooing, or any form of body mutilation. 

      10. Any act of physical abuse, psychological abuse, or verbal abuse (including but not limited to “line-ups,” forced calisthenics (unless part of an organized athletic activity sponsored by a recognized/sanctioned sports program), surprise or fake initiations, etc. 

      11. Exposing participants to adverse weather conditions. 

      12. Engaging in public stunts and humiliating games and activities. 

      13. Mandated late night sessions that interfere with scholastic and occupational activities. 

      14. Running personal errands for members or mandating tasks only of new members. 

      15. Mandated consumption, included but not limited to: illegal substances, food, alcohol, or any other type of liquid. 

      16. Inappropriate activities required of a specific group (new member, rookie, etc.) including but not limited to new member all-nighters, shaving of heads, servitude, etc. 

      17. Any other activities not consistent with the academic mission of the University. 

    2. “Inappropriate” will be determined by the Office of Student Conduct and Civility Education. 

    3. “University Community” means Towson University students, faculty and staff 

  3. Responsible Executive and Office:

    Responsible Executives:
    Vice President for Student Affairs

    Responsible Offices:
    Office of Student Conduct and Civility Education (OSCCE)
    Associate Vice President of Student Affairs

  4. Entities Affected by this Policy:

    The University Community 

  5. Procedures: 

    1. General: 

      1. Anyone experiencing or witnessing a violation of this Hazing policy should report the incident to the OSCCE. Any individual or group alleged to have engaged in Hazing will be referred to OSCCE, which will handle allegations in accordance with its usual procedures for alleged violations of University policies, except as otherwise noted in this policy. 

      2. If OSCCE finds that a student organization has engaged in Hazing, or that the organization did not take reasonable steps to prevent Hazing by its members or affiliates, culpability may be attributed to the individual perpetrators, the student organization, its members, and/or its elected or appointed officers, subject to the defense that the individual student could not reasonably have prevented the Hazing. 

      3. All students, including potential new members and current members of any student group or organization, have a responsibility to avoid participating in Hazing. 

    2. Process for Specific Student Groups at Towson University: 

      1. Fraternity and Sorority Life  Any sanctions will be imposed by OSCCE. This decision will include input from the Associate Vice President of Student Affairs- Campus Life, the Associate Vice President of Student Affairs, and the Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life. Previous violations of this policy will also be considered in the sanctioning process. 

      2. Recognized Organizations including Competitive Sporting Clubs  Any sanctions will be imposed by OSCCE. This decision will include input from the Associate Vice President of Student Affairs-Campus Life, the Associate Vice President of Student Affairs, and the Director of Campus Recreation Services. Previous violations of this policy will also be considered in the sanctioning process. 

      3. Athletics  Any student /athlete or athletic team found responsible for violating this policy by OSCCE will be sanctioned by OSCCE, and may also be sanctioned by the Department of Athletics. A student-athlete and/or team found violating this policy may be suspended for the remainder of the academic year. All remaining contests may be forfeited. Additional penalties may be placed on the program following an investigation, and will be imposed by OSCCE and/or the Department of Athletics. This decision will include input from the Associate Vice President of Student Affairs, and the Director of Athletics or designee. Previous violations of this policy will also be considered in the sanctioning process. 

      4. Student Organizations not recognized by any of the following: The Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, The Office of Campus Recreation Services, The Office of Student Activities, and Athletics – This includes but is not limited to Honorary Societies, Honor Fraternities, and Professional Social Greek-Lettered Organizations supported by University offices and/or employees. Any sanctions will be imposed by the OSCCE. Previous violations of this policy will also be considered in the sanctioning process. 

Related Policies:

None.

Approval Date: 08/27/2012

Effective Date: 08/27/2012

Amended Date: 11/02/2015

Approved By: President’s Council 08/22/2012

Signed By: President’s Council

How to Request the Policy PDF

This online version of the policy may include updated links and names of departments. To request a PDF of the original, signed version of this policy, email the Office of the General Counsel, .