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Anti-Hazing Policy


Hamilton College seeks to foster a safe, healthy, and inclusive environment built upon mutual respect. As an educational institution, the health and safety of our community members is paramount.

All students and employees are responsible for acquainting themselves with, adhering to, and promoting policies governing appropriate conduct. For these reasons, the College takes a firm stance against hazing and prohibits hazing in all forms. Similarly, any solicitation to engage in or witness hazing is prohibited. From a legal perspective, hazing is a crime in New York state and at colleges and universities in 44 of the other 49 states. From an organizational and community perspective, hazing creates an environment that contradicts the commitment to build a diverse, equitable, and inclusive community that is safe and healthy and provides opportunities for meaningful engagement.

If you or someone you know may have experienced hazing, and are in need of immediate assistance please contact Campus Safety at 315-859-4000. If it is a non-emergency we encourage you to report this via our Hazing Incident Report Form or by phone via the Dean of Students office at 315-859-4020. Reports are reviewed every 24 hours by the Community Standards Office.

The purpose of this document is to state Hamilton College’s Anti-Hazing Policy; identify how the College will enforce this policy; and identify resources support and for reporting potential violations of this policy. This policy reproduces excerpts of New York State Penal Law. Students and other community members to which this policy applies are strongly encouraged to read these provisions in their entirety. 

This policy applies to all leaders, members, and representatives of the Hamilton College community including:

  • Individual students
  • Societies, Groups, Organizations, and Teams (SGOTs) including, but not limited to:

    • Recognized SGOTs
    • Inactive, Suspended, or Expelled SGOTs
    • Loosely affiliated student groups
    • Private or independent societies
    • Varsity and non-varsity athletic teams
    • Musical groups
    • Any other group operating under the sanction of or recognized as an organization by Hamilton College and its trustees.
  • Other individuals associated with the groups described above, including:
    • Guests of students or SGOTs
    • Athletic team or academic recruits
    • Prospective students
    • Advisors
    • Alumni members
    • Representatives, directors, trustees, or officers of any national or parent organization 

Definitions

Hamilton College SGOTs

SGOTs are college-affiliated societies, groups, organizations, and teams. 

Hamilton College definition of hazing

Hazing is any non-accidental aspect of induction activities that do not appear to be group-relevant assessments, preparations or actions, or appear excessive in their application regardless of the individual’s willingness to participate. Induction activities are tasks formally or informally required to obtain or maintain membership or participatory legitimacy for members (new, prospective, existing, or alumni).

Hazing behaviors include but are not limited to the following:

  1. Forcing, requiring, or encouraging an individual to drink alcohol or use other substances or consume unreasonable amounts of food or items that are inedible;
  2. Engaging in activities that compel an individual or group to remain at a certain place, or transporting anyone anywhere without their knowledge and/or consent (road trips, kidnaps, etc.);
  3. Creating excessive fatigue or distress through the deprivation of privacy, sleep, or healthy/nourishing meals;
  4. Participating in degrading or humiliating activities;
  5. Participating in or creation of situations that cause physical harm or emotional strain, such as causing an individual or group to be the object of malicious amusement or ridicule;
  6. Using brutality or force.

The willingness of an individual or group to participate in conduct or activities does not make the conduct or activities acceptable. If any of these activities are understood to be a condition of membership, advancement, or good-standing in a SGOT the College will consider action against the organization.

Violation of the Anti-Hazing Policy may also be a violation of New York State law. 

New York State Penal Law, Chapter 716, Section 1 (effective November 1, 1988) defines hazing as:

  1. 120.16: Hazing in the first degree

    • A person is guilty of hazing in the first degree when, in the course of another person's initiation into or affiliation with any organization, he intentionally or recklessly engages in conduct which creates a substantial risk of physical injury to such other person or a third person and thereby causes such injury.
    • Hazing in the first degree is a class A misdemeanor.
  2. 120.17: Hazing in the second degree

    • A person is guilty of hazing in the second degree when, in the course of another person's initiation or affiliation with any organization, he intentionally or recklessly engages in conduct which creates a substantial risk of physical injury to such other person or a third person.

  • Hazing in the second degree is a violation.

Conduct and Sanctions

The College may attribute the action(s) of one member of an SGOT to the entire group. Leadership and representatives of any SGOT may be held accountable even if they are not actively participating in the conduct or activities. Reports of hazing by a group will be investigated by the process outlined in the Society, Group, Organization, and Team Accountability Policy. When appropriate, individuals will be held accountable using processes outlined in the Code of Student Conduct. Both processes can happen concurrently or consecutively depending on the nature of the alleged violation(s) and recommendation from the Community Standards Office. This policy does not prevent the College from pursuing charges against individuals under the Sexual Misconduct Policy and/or the Code of Student Conduct. Likewise, this policy does not prevent action by police or other law enforcement personnel. 

Any SGOT found responsible for hazing will be subject to disciplinary action, which may include but are not limited to the following sanctions:

  • Removal/suspension of social hosting privileges
  • Removal/suspension of access to organizational funding
  • Revoking/suspending access to college resources such as: mass email and listserv privileges, 25Live privileges, etc.
  • Suspension by the College for a short period of time (1 month - 1 semester)
  • Suspension by the College for an extended period of time (1 semester or more)
  • Alternative sanctions
  • Permanent removal of the organization

Any individual(s) found responsible for participating in, facilitating, coordinating, or soliciting to engage in or witness hazing may be found in violation of Hamilton College Anti-Hazing Policy and the Code of Student Conduct. Sanctions for individuals including leaders or representatives of SGOTs include but are not limited to the following sanctions:

  • removal from leadership role
  • removal from SGOT membership
  • judicial points up to and including separation from the College

Reporting and Amnesty 

To report any instances of hazing you may contact the Dean of Students office at 315-859-4020. For emergencies please contact Campus Safety at 315-859-4000.  

For questions about the Anti-Hazing Policy please contact the Dean of Students office at 315-859-4020.

The welfare of our students is of the highest importance to Hamilton College. Students that are impaired by alcohol or drugs at a level requiring medical attention, and/or friends of such students, should always seek appropriate assistance from HCEMS and Campus Safety. The Medical Amnesty Policy is intended to promote student safety and to encourage students and third parties to promptly notify appropriate staff in the event of such need. The amnesty clause in the Anti-Hazing policy is designed for the same purpose.

Students who report alleged hazing violations who were involved in or witnessed the hazing activities will be considered for amnesty as it relates to hazing and other published College policies on a case by case basis weighing the risk to the health and safety of the involved parties.

A failure to seek assistance for a member of our community in medical need or who may have experienced hazing will result in serious and lasting consequences for that individual. Disciplinary sanctions will be more severe for any individual or group, who interferes with an individual’s attempt or ability to take responsible action.

Any individual who may have been the subject or witness of potential hazing is encouraged to report the incident to the College via the Dean of Students Office or Campus Safety Office.

Reviewed September 2020

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