Policy on Hazing

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Policy on Hazing

Denison Policy

As an institution centered on learning, Denison’s commitments to discerning moral agency, autonomous thinking and respect for human dignity are expressed in our guiding documents, the mission statement and Campus Compact. It is the responsibility of all student organizations, groups and teams to encourage an atmosphere of learning, social responsibility, and respect for human dignity and to provide positive influences and constructive development for members and aspiring members.

Denison acknowledges that the new membership process of an organization, team or group may include formal rites of passage that center on learning important information and developing close bonds of friendship with other members. There is nothing inherent to these goals that requires hazing and by its very nature, hazing is incongruent with our values and has no place in our university life. Denison will not condone hazing behavior of any kind by any individual, organization or group and will respond swiftly to protect the safety of our students.

Consistent with the Ohio Revised Code, no individual, group, team or campus organization shall conduct or condone hazing activities. Arguments that the participant took part voluntarily in the behavior, that he or she voluntarily assumed the risks or hardship of the activity, or that no injury (physical or mental) in fact was suffered shall not constitute justification under this hazing policy.

Hazing, by its nature, relies on the exertion of explicit or implicit power over another person by an individual or group, and the submission of the receiver. Hazing includes actions taken or situations created that are intentional and that threaten the safety of others, or that produce, or have the potential to produce, mental or physical discomfort, embarrassment, harassment, or ridicule for the purpose of initiation, admission into, affiliation with a group, organization or team or as a condition for continued membership. Apathy or acquiescence in the presence of hazing is not considered a neutral act; they violate this policy. Tradition, the intent of such acts, and the express or implied consent of the victim do not constitute valid defenses.

Organizations found to be in violation of this policy may face sanctions ranging from a warning to a loss of status as a recognized organization or team. Individuals found to be in violation of this policy may face sanctions ranging from a warning to dismissal from the college.

Ohio Hazing Law

The State of Ohio’s Hazing Law is set forth in Section 2307.44 of the Ohio Revised Code. 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. 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. 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.

Section 2903.31

  • (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) 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.