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What Is Hazing?

Hazing is the imposition of humiliation or rigorous physical training as a form of initiation. In the military, hazing is often the point of the first week of boot camp. However, on college campuses, hazing can have an even darker meaning. Keep reading to learn more.


As mentioned previously, hazing can be particularly brutal physical training or a humiliating act. It often occurs in environments where there is a clear hierarchy like the military, some office settings, and college campuses.

Fraternities are infamous for hazing. Sororities participate in hazing activities as well, but fraternities or frats are most often associated with the term. As such, colleges and universities have their own definitions of hazing and punishments.

The University of Nevada, Reno defines hazing as:

Any method of initiation into or affiliation with the University, a student organization, a sports team, an academic association, or other group […] that intentionally or recklessly endangers that individual physically and/or mentally regardless of whether or not the recipient is a willing participant.”

DeVry University defines hazing as:

Any action taken, or situation created which, regardless of intent or consent of the participants, may reasonably produce bodily harm or danger, mental or physical discomfort, embarrassment, harassment, fright, humiliation or ridicule, or otherwise compromises the dignity of an individual; compels an individual to participate in an activity that is unlawful […].

Hazing Acts

The definitions of hazing may vary but the list of hazing activities provided by most universities is extensive and relatively universal. Some colleges may have specific actions that count as hazing, but overall, the list is consistent.

Hazing may include:

  • Whipping
  • Beating
  • Branding
  • Forced consumption of food, liquid, or drugs
  • Ridiculing behavior
  • Morale degradation
  • Humiliating games
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Forced exclusion
  • Forced conduct that produces pain or discomfort
  • Expectations that individuals engage in illegal acts
  • Servitude
  • Animal abuse
  • Abductions
  • Bondage
  • Sexual simulations
  • Expectations to harass others

In some rare cases, hazing rituals have led to accusations of sex abuse. A case in Cache County, Utah involved students allegedly sexually assaulting a teammate as part of a hazing ritual. An investigation is ongoing but if the accusations are true, the punishment could be severe.

Nevada Law

In 1999, Nevada lawmakers passed legislation that imposed more severe penalties for those convicted of hazing. Cases involving bodily harm could result in up to six months in jail while hazing leading to death can be charged as involuntary manslaughter or a 2nd degree felony.

Legal Representation

Hazing is a serious crime and can have lifelong consequences. Those convicted of hazing or any crime for that matter, may have difficulty finding jobs or educational opportunities. Additionally, convicted felons are often refused housing opportunities.

If you have been accused of hazing, our attorneys at The Draskovich Law Group can help. Our team has extensive experience with hazing cases and has defended countless college students against accusations.

Contact our firm for more information.