Hazing in any form is an inappropriate activity and a violation of Wittenberg's Statement of Mission (to develop the whole person intellectually, spiritually, socially, and physically) and is contrary to the purpose of this academic institution and the positive development of individual members of our community. Acts of hazing degrade or otherwise compromise the dignity of the individual and therefore does not align with the mission of this institution.
Hazing includes any activity or action that causes mental, emotional, or physical distress, which ridicules, degrades, embarrasses, leads to confusion or frustration, causes discomfort, or jeopardizes the health, welfare, and safety of an individual or a group. Students may not imply that a person would be shunned, removed, or not initiated for failing to participate in any form of hazing. Any act that violates University policy; Student Involvement policies for recognized student organizations, groups and/or sport clubs; local/state/federal law; a student organization's charter/constitution/by-laws; the constitution/by-laws of the National Panhellenic Conference or North-American Interfraternity Conference; Division of Athletics rules/policies; and/or policies and procedures of external affiliate organizations/groups. All conditions described by the State of Ohio's Hazing laws as set forth in section 2307.44 and 2903.31 of the Ohio Revised Code (http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/2903.31) also constitute violations of the Universities hazing policy. All acts of hazing, both on- and off-campus by an organization, group or any of its members, are strictly forbidden. A violation of this policy may exist irrespective of any alleged voluntary or consensual participation in the activity by the person(s) being abused.
Examples of hazing include but are not limited to the following:
- any activity that requires an unreasonable or inordinate amount of the individual's time or in any manner impairs the individual's academic efforts,
- any activity that requires consumption of any liquid or solid matter; including food, alcohol, drugs or other substances
- forced/required physical activity
- deprivation of food or sleep
- any requirement which compels an individual to participate in any activity which is illegal or contrary to an individual's genuine, moral, and/or religious beliefs or contrary to the rules and regulations of the university.
Cease and Desist Order: A formal directive issued by the Center for Student Involvement and/or the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life that instructs a student organization to stop all activity immediately.
Group: A number of persons who are associated with the University and each other, but who have not registered, or are not required to register, as a student organization (e.g. athletic teams, musical or theatrical ensembles, academic or administrative units)
Organization: A number of persons who are associated with each other and who have registered with the University as a student organization under Student Involvement for recognized student organizations.
Participants: For the purposes of the hazing policy "participants" is defined as any student who directly/indirectly partakes in a prohibited act by leading, encouraging, witnessing or condoning the act in any manner. Failing to stop or report these actions as a bystander/witness may bring charges upon the individual.
Charters/Constitutions and Bylaws:
Requiring or implying requirement to participate in any act that violates the Codes of Conduct; Student Involvement policies for recognized student organizations; local/state/federal law; a student organization's charter/constitution/by-laws; the constitution /by-laws of the, National Panhellenic Conference, or North-American Interfraternity Conference; or rules of the Division of Athletics, NCAA, sport clubs, or intramurals is prohibited.
Concurrent Legal Charges:
Many of the violations of the Code of Conduct are also violations of Ohio law. However, students are not generally charged with both the specific Code of Conduct and Laws & Statutes unless there is a possible law violation that is not covered elsewhere in the Code of Conduct. Students may find themselves charged through the criminal justice system for incidents that have also been attributed to violations at the University. In these cases the University will generally proceed with the Student Conduct System concurrently with the legal system. The University does not offer legal advice/counsel to students facing criminal charges.
Individual Student Charges:
In cases where the activity is performed by an individual member of the student organization, the organization as a whole may be held responsible. Individual students may be charged separately through the conduct process as well. Delegating or requesting another group or individual to perform the act in your place will bring charges of hazing to the requesting group as well as the group or individuals performing the act, regardless of affiliation.
Safety Concerns for Students who Report Hazing (Amnesty):
Students who report possible hazing incidents will not be subject to individual charges of policy violations by the University if those violations were a direct result/cause/effect of the hazing. Additionally the University will work to make reasonable accommodations so that the reporting party can continue their academic pursuits. These accommodations include but are not limited to alternative housing, no contact orders, and academic accommodations. Any student who is concerned for their safety either due to ongoing hazing or in fear of retribution/retaliation should consider speaking with a University staff member to gain an understanding of the services that can be made available in their situation.
Ohio is one of 44 states that have an anti-hazing law. Individuals may be held criminally or civily liable. The Ohio Revised Code provides:
(A) As used in this section, "hazing" means doing any act or coercing another, including the victim, to do any act of initiation into any student or other organization that causes or creates a substantial risk of causing mental or physical harm to any person.
(B)(1) No person shall recklessly participate in the hazing of another.
(2) No administrator, employee, or faculty member of any primary, secondary, or post-secondary school or of any other educational institution, public or private, shall recklessly permit the hazing of any person.
(C) Whoever violates this section is guilty of hazing, a misdemeanor of the fourth degree.
2307.44 Hazing civil liability.
Any person who is subjected to hazing, as defined in division (A) of section 2903.31 of the Revised Code, may commence a civil action for injury or damages, including mental and physical pain and suffering, that result from the hazing. The action may be brought against any participants in the hazing, any organization whose local or national directors, trustees, or officers authorized, requested, commanded, or tolerated the hazing, and any local or national director, trustee, or officer of the organization who authorized, requested, commanded, or tolerated the hazing. If the hazing involves students in a primary, secondary, or post-secondary school, university, college, or any other educational institution, an action may also be brought against any administrator, employee, or faculty member of the school, university, college, or other educational institution who knew or reasonably should have known of the hazing and who did not make reasonable attempts to prevent it and against the school, university, college, or other educational institution. If an administrator, employee, or faculty member is found liable in a civil action for hazing, then notwithstanding Chapter 2743. of the Revised Code, the school, university, college, or other educational institution that employed the administrator, employee, or faculty member may also be held liable.
The negligence or consent of the plaintiff or any assumption of the risk by the plaintiff is not a defense to an action brought pursuant to this section. In an action against a school, university, college, or other educational institution, it is an affirmative defense that the school, university, college, or other institution was actively enforcing a policy against hazing at the time the cause of action arose.
Reporting Hazing and Contact Numbers for Assistance
- Emergency: In a medical or other emergency of any kind, immediately dial 911 or contact Wittenberg Police at 937-327-6363.
- Non-Emergency: For additional assistance and in cases of a non-emergency situation, please contact Wittenberg University through any one of the following offices.
a. Wittenberg Police at 927-327-6231
b. Office of Student Conduct at 937-327-7800 or by submitting an online report
c. Dean of Students Office at 937-327-7800
d. Fraternity & Sorority Life at 937-327-7820
g. Division of Athletics at 937-327-6458
h. Student Organizations & Club Sports at 937-327-7820
i. Speak to a Resident Assistant or other staff member in an on campus living area
- Other: When an uncertain situation arises at any point, contact your group/organization adviser, who can be a liaison and connect you with additional resources. He/she may help you report emergencies or non-emergencies to appropriate authorities.
As individuals, groups, and organizations work to prevent situations that would encourage or engender hazing behaviors, we must all come together and share positive resources that help this cause. Many local and national organizations, as well as campus contacts are identified as positive sources of information and outreach.
Office of Student Development/Office of Student Conduct 937-327-7800
Wittenberg Police Division 937-327-6231
Wittenberg Health and Counseling Center 937-327-7811
Talk One2One 800-756-3124
National Hazing Prevention: http://www.hazingprevention.org/
- HazingPrevention.org: A national organization dedicated to its mission to empower people to prevent hazing in college and university student groups.
- StopHazing.org: A comprehensive site for current literature and media available to students, as well as updates on state laws that are applicable for individuals and groups.
- Limberlost Consulting: This external consulting firm works with campuses, chapters, groups, corporations, and boards providing strategic planning, consulting, and presentation advising, for many topical areas in higher education, inclusive of current practices in hazing prevention.
- Group/organization adviser: Recall that as groups and organizations have advisers who are trained to assist in education, prevention, and response, your adviser can be called upon to help interpret appropriate practices for all individual and group/organization behavior.
- Office of Student Conduct: Staff members from student conduct are trained in hazing prevention measures. Contact the office at 937-327-7800 to request to speak with someone who may schedule a presentation for a group/organization meeting on the topic of hazing prevention.
- Fraternity & Sorority Life: Staff members are trained in hazing prevention measures, inclusive of those who are specifically trained to work with values-based Greek organizations including Interfraternity Council (IFC) and women's College Panhellenic Council (Panhellenic). Contact Fraternity & Sorority Life at 937-327-7820 to request to speak with someone who may schedule a presentation for a group/organization meeting on the topic of hazing prevention.