Seton Hall University does not condone and never has condoned or supported the practice of hazing. Hazing is contrary to the principles upon which the University community is built. Seton Hall, therefore, prohibits hazing as a requirement for admission or acceptance into any club, organization or athletic activity.
The following information has been organized through the efforts of the College Panhellenic Council, Inter-Fraternity Council, Multicultural Greek Council and the Greek Life Office in the Department of Community Development. The information is designed to assist student organizations and their associates/new members in understanding University and state positions on hazing. In no way should this guideline be considered all-inclusive in definition and content as to what constitutes hazing. It is educational in purpose and serves as an outline of practices that may be considered hazing and counter-productive to missions, principles, and purposes of fraternities and sororities and the University itself.
Statement of Position
Seton Hall University recognizes that fraternities and sororities are an integral part of campus life. They provide leadership opportunities, social and academic support, scholarship, friendship and community service. The University has an obligation to protect the environment within which fraternities and sororities operate. All students are expected to conduct themselves responsibly and respect the rights of fellow citizens. Any departure from these standards may result in disciplinary action.
In 1980, the New Jersey legislature passed the following act regarding hazing and aggravated hazing under New Jersey Criminal Code (N.J.S.A 2C:40-3):
A. Hazing: A person is guilty of hazing, a disorderly offense, if in connection with initiation of a student or fraternal organization, he/she knowingly or recklessly organizes, promotes, facilitates or engages in any conduct other than competitive athletic events, which places or may place another person in danger of bodily injury.
B. A person is guilty of aggravated hazing, a crime of the fourth degree, if he/she commits an act prohibited in subsection "A", which results in serious bodily injury to another person.
The act further provides that the consent of anyone placed in jeopardy or injured shall not be available as a defense against prosecution under this act. Since aggravated hazing is a fourth degree crime, one who suppresses by way of concealment ... any evidence of the crime (N.J.S.A. 2C:29.3) could be charged with the disorderly persons offense of hindering apprehension or prosecution. Therefore, Seton Hall has a duty to report incidents of hazing and any other crimes to the Essex County Prosecutor's Office, and/or the University must cooperate fully with any investigation that is commenced by any law enforcement authority concerning such an incident.
Seton Hall University
Seton Hall University defines hazing as any action taken or situation created (on or off campus) to cause, or place in jeopardy of, physical or mental harm, discomfort, embarrassment, ridicule or mistreatment.
A person(s) or organization(s) may be charged with hazing under the University's standards of conduct. Sanctions to persons found guilty of hazing range up to and include expulsion. Sanctions for organizations found guilty of hazing range up to and include permanent loss of recognition and possible criminal charges against the individual(s). Charges of hazing are referred to and investigated by the Department of Community Development.
Examples of Hazing
Depending upon circumstances, the following activities have, at one time or another, been construed by the courts and/or institutions of higher education as hazing. Such activities are often required or implied as conditions of inclusion or exclusion from a group, formal or informal. Hazing, therefore, may be perpetuated by individual(s) against individual(s), individual(s) against group, group against individual(s) or group against group.
- "PT" (Physical Training): requiring calisthenics such as sit-ups, running or any form of physically abusive or excessive exercise; any physical action or restraint that may inflict harm or pain on an individual(s) or place them in a position or situation of possible harm or threat.
- Forcing, requiring, recommending and/or coercing consumption of alcoholic beverages or any other kind of drug; requiring ingestion of an undesirable or unwanted substance (food, drink, concoction).
- Harassment, whether verbal, mental or physical of individual(s) or group(s).
- Scavenger hunts that require or result in theft; forced or coerced road trips and/or kidnapping.
- Endorsing or conducting pranks such as borrowing or stealing items, destruction of property or objects, pulling false fire alarms, or any other activity in violation of the law.
- Personal servitude (doing chores or errands for the group(s) or individual members).
- Sleep interruption or deprivation; conducting activities that do not allow adequate time to study.
- Any required or recommended activity taking place between midnight and 7 a.m. during the weekday (1 a.m. on weekends), or series of activities that do not allow for 8 hours of sleep per night.
- Morally degrading, humiliating or embarrassing games or activities.
- Requiring or recommending the wearing of apparel or hairstyles that are conspicuous and or/normally in bad taste. This includes unusual clothing styles, repetitious wearing of uniforms or repetitious "dressing up" (coat and tie, dresses, etc.) Clothing that refers directly to the wearer as "pledge" or other terms is not acceptable.
- Line-ups or any interrogation for information about the history, purpose or direction of the organization that is not consistent with legitimate testing
- Requiring or recommending the carrying of unusual items (rocks, plants, pumpkins, pillows, etc.)
- Forced isolation from other members, friends or the rest of the campus. This includes any prohibition on speaking or social interaction, including public marching or walking in lines or "on line."
- Deception and/or threats contrived to convince the pledge he/she will not be able to join the organization or that purposely inflicts mental stress by not revealing the requirements or basic timetable for joining.
This list in no way includes all activities or actions that could be considered hazing.
How to Know
How do you know if you are hazing or being hazed? Answer the following questions to find out:
- Would you feel comfortable enough to show or perform the activity in front of key members of the administration, your coach or your adviser?
- Would you show pictures of the event to your parents?
- Would you print it in University recruitment publications as a selling point?
If you answered any of these questions with a "no" you are most likely involved in hazing.
Hazing encompasses any action or activity that does not contribute to the positive development of a person; that inflicts or intends to cause mental or bodily harm or anxieties; or that may demean or disgrace any person.
It is not necessary to participate directly in a hazing activity to hold some level of accountability and/or liability. Knowledge of such activity can indicate a level of responsibility. Also a person's willingness to be hazed does not excuse the activity from being considered hazing, from charges being filed or possible sanctions from being imposed.
If you are being hazed or know someone in your fraternity or sorority chapter who is hazing or being hazed, COME FORWARD AND REPORT IT to the Greek Life Office in the Department of Community Development, (973) 313-6062.
Greek Membership Requirements
Membership in a fraternity or sorority is a privilege. In order to be eligible for membership in a fraternity or sorority, you must have completed at least 12 credits at Seton Hall University with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.3. The completion of this requirement generally coincides with your second semester at the University.
Individual organizations may have additional requirements for membership beyond the University's policies. For individual organization information, contact the respective Greek organization.
If you participate in the New Member Education Process (i.e., pledging) an organization without meeting this requirement( i.e. pledging "underground") you are violating a formal University policy. Students and or organizations violating these regulations will be subject to Community Standards sanctions as an individual and/or organization.
In order to maintain active membership status, a student must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of at least 2.3. Some organizations may have internal requirements that may exceed this requirement.
New Member Education Process
The Greek New Member Education Process occurs during a designated six- week period, established by the Greek Life Office, during both the Fall and Spring semesters. No organization is allowed to exceed this six-week period. Any student(s) and or organization(s) violating this policy will be subject to Community Standards disciplinary action.
January 1, 2000