Campus Hazing DefenseServices
The first Question:
What is Hazing?
Hazing is any activity expected of someone joining or participating in a group that humiliates, degrades, abuses, or endangers them, regardless of a person’s willingness to participate, according to the organization Stop Hazing.
Hazing can violate school policies and the law. State criminal law assigns varying degrees of severity to hazing, depending on the circumstances. It can result in misdemeanor or felony charges, and both individuals and organizations may face civil consequences.
Hazing is not limited to college campuses; it’s also prevalent various clubs, groups, and teams across diverse settings, including middle and high schools, colleges, universities, the military, and the workplace.
Legal representation is crucial to protect rights, ensure due process, and establish accountability.
WHAT KIND OF ACTIVITIES MIGHT BE CONSIDERED HAZING?
- Beating (or paddling)
- Creation of excessive fatigue
- Deprivation of regular hygiene practices (e.g., brushing teeth, bathing)
- “Drop-offs” or abandonment in unfamiliar locations
- Duct tape or other physical restraints
- Forced eating or drinking of unusual items
- Forced interviews
- Forced cleaning
- Forced use of alcohol or drugs
- Lockups or confinement in small spaces
- Making you steal or destroy property
- Mandatory calisthenics
- Mental and psychological abuse
- Obligatory wearing of embarrassing clothing
- Physical violence
- Providing alcohol to minors
- Public nudity
- Public or private humiliation displays
- Running errands or performing menial tasks under duress
- Scavenger hunts with compulsory participation
- Sexual assault
- Sleep deprivation
- Verbal harassment, yelling, or cursing by other group members
- Any activity that seriously endangers the health or safety of an individual
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By the Numbers:
The 2008 National Study unveiled a startling statistic: 55% of college students involved in clubs, teams, and organizations experience hazing. Additionally, even if hazing does not result in legal proceedings, schools have anti-hazing policies that can lead to student conduct charges for suspected violations. Both students and student organizations can be found in violation of hazing policies.
of students come to college having already experienced hazing in high school
of students involved in a student activity reported they were aware of hazing activities occurring in student organizations other than their own.
of hazing behaviors occurred somehwere on-campus in a public area
Know the seriousness:
POSSIBLE REPERCUSSIONS OF A HAZING VIOLATION
Hazing accusations can result in both legal and disciplinary consequences, including legal penalties like probation, fines, community service, or imprisonment. Additionally, your educational institution may impose its own disciplinary measures, which often include:
- Disciplinary probation
- Official reprimand
- Exclusion from campus housing
- Revocation of financial aid
- Forfeiture of scholarships
- Funding withdrawal for an organization
- Removal from athletic teams
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How we can help
Campus Hazing Defense
Our attorneys provide legal representation to students who find themselves accused of violating college hazing policies. Hazing allegations can have serious consequences for students, both in terms of their education and their future prospects. Students found responsible for hazing policy violations can be suspended and even expelled. We understand the unique challenges faced by students accused of hazing, and we are committed to helping them navigate the complex disciplinary process.
Hazing Personal Injury Representation
Hazing incidents, including those that involve sexually abusive rituals, can result in severe emotional and physical injuries to victims. Our firm is committed to helping these victims seek justice and resolution for the harm they have endured.
Hazing is not just a violation of college policies; it can also be a criminal offense with serious legal implications. Our firm is well-versed in the criminal aspects of hazing cases and can provide the necessary legal guidance to defend against criminal charges related to hazing.
How We’ve helped Others
Two Students Accused of Fraternal Hazing: Suspension Avoided
In this case, two college students faced serious accusations of fraternal hazing that could have led to suspension or expulsion. Our legal team skillfully demonstrated that the evidence did not support these allegations, ultimately preventing the university from imposing any disciplinary actions on the accused students.
Collegiate Athlete Accused of Hazing: Avoided Suspension and Expulsion
In this case, a collegiate athlete faced hazing accusations that could have jeopardized their sports career and academic goals. Our legal team’s skilled advocacy showed the accusations lacked merit, ensuring the athlete avoided suspension, expulsion, or sports participation bans.
Important to Know:
QUESTIONS TO ASK IF YOU ARE INVOLVED IN A HAZING MISCONDUCT INVESTIGATION
What should I do if I'm accused of participating in hazing?
If you’re accused of participating in hazing, it’s essential to take the accusations seriously. Your first step should be to consult with an attorney who has extensive experience in hazing cases. In criminal investigations, you have the legal right to remain silent and not incriminate yourself. Prior to giving any interview, whether in a legal proceeding, organization inquiry, or campus investigation, make sure you secure counsel. Do not speak with law enforcement or school officials without your attorney present. They can help you navigate the legal process, protect your rights, and build a strong defense.
Can hazing charges result in criminal penalties?
Yes, hazing charges can lead to criminal penalties, depending on the severity of the incident and the laws in your jurisdiction. These penalties may include fines, probation, community service, or even incarceration. Hazing incidents that cause serious harm or death can result in more severe charges, such as manslaughter or murder. It’s crucial to understand the potential legal consequences and consult with an attorney to protect your rights.
What if I witnessed hazing but didn't participate?
Students should be mindful that they can be involved in student conduct proceedings even if they had no direct participation in the hazing rituals. We have worked on matters where those students who served in organization leadership roles were found responsible for hazing that took place at events those students did not even attend. For this reason, it is critically
Is it true that if someone agrees to participate in an activity, it can't be considered hazing?
No, that’s a common misconception. While consent may be given, it doesn’t necessarily absolve an activity from constituting hazing. Ohio law, for instance, recognizes that consent of a victim doesn’t provide a defense against hazing charges. Consent does not legitimize actions that put someone’s physical or mental well-being at risk.
“I was a member of a fraternity at a public university that was kicked off campus for reported hazing. That’s when I contacted Susan and Kristina, who were extremely helpful and wonderful to work with. Thanks to them, they helped guide me through collecting proof of my innocence, which ended up leading to the result we wanted of no charges against me. I highly recommend their service to anyone who might need it!”
On Susan & Kristina’s assistance with their hazing allegation
Common Myths & Misconceptions
Myth 1: Hazing builds unity and camaraderie
Fact: Hazing does not build genuine unity or camaraderie. While some may argue that enduring hazing rituals can create bonds among group members, research shows that the negative physical and psychological effects of hazing often lead to lasting harm and mistrust within the group.
Myth 2: Hazing is harmless fun or tradition
Fact: Hazing is not harmless fun. It can result in physical injuries, psychological trauma, and even death. Just because a behavior has been a tradition does not make it safe or acceptable. Traditions can and should evolve to ensure the safety and well-being of all participants.
Myth 3: Hazing only happens in fraternities and sororities
Fact: Hazing can occur in various organizations, not just fraternities. It can happen in sororities, sports teams, clubs, military organizations, and other groups. Focusing solely on fraternities overlooks the broader issue of hazing in different contexts.
Myth 4: If an individual willingly participates in an activity, it cannot be classified as hazing
Fact: Hazing is not solely determined by an individual’s consent. Even if someone agrees to participate in an activity, it can still be considered hazing if the activity involves coercion, physical or emotional harm, humiliation, or any behavior that goes against their well-being and dignity. Consent does not justify harmful practices, and hazing remains unacceptable regardless of whether someone initially agrees to it.
More inofrmation on Hazing:
Our Blogs & Podcasts
On this episode of Real Talk, Susan and Kristina are joined by Dr. Debby Herbenick to discuss their new book, Yes, Your Kid: What Parents Need to Know About Today's Teens and Sex. Covering various aspects of sexuality and sexual education including the challenges...
In this episode of Real Talk, KJK Student Defense Attorneys Susan Stone and Kristina Supler are joined by Carrie Hull, founded the You Have Options Program, nationally recognized for providing reporting options for survivors of sexual violence. Carrie also created...
In this episode of Real Talk, KJK Student Defense Attorneys Susan Stone and Kristina Supler are joined by Hank Nuwer, a leading expert on hazing. They discuss the origins of Hank's career focus on hazing, his comprehensive database of hazing deaths, and how he...
National studies of student hazing have found that more than half of college students associated with clubs, teams or organizations experience hazing. Yet less than 10% of those who experience hazing actually call the activity an act of hazing. It is also estimated...
In this episode of Real Talk, KJK Student Defense Attorneys Susan Stone and Kristina Supler are joined by Carly Boyd, a domestic relations attorney. In this episode, they talk about the effects of a recent Department of Justice Investigation at Case Western...
Given that social media and the Internet have a significant influence on various aspects of students' lives, it is unsurprising that they also play a role in the occurrence of hazing too. Hazing no longer occurs behind closed doors; platforms such as YouTube and...