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What is it?
Hazing is a practice which may be used to initiate people into an established group. It involves behaviour which is intended to physically or psychologically stress, harass or humiliate the person being initiated. It is often seen as being part of the ‘tradition’ of that group, and as essential to membership.
While those being initiated into the group may provide their consent, or seem willing to take part in these activities, the practice of hazing is an abuse of power by senior figures within a community, and supports the notion of hierarchies, pecking orders, and the perceived worth of individuals.
Any activity where an established group member (often an older student, or a student who has been at the uni for longer), asks or encourages a new group member to take part in something that could lead to humiliation, or physical or emotional harm, can be classed as hazing.
Hazing can include a wide range of activities, and asking yourselves these questions can help you identify the experience:
- Would I feel comfortable participating in this activity if my parents/elders were watching?
- Would we be in trouble if a staff member walked by and saw us?
- Am I being asked to keep these activities a secret?
- Am I doing anything illegal?
- Does participation in this activity violate my values or those of the University- See UON’s Code of Conduct?
- Is what I’m participating in, or witnessing, causing emotional or physical distress, or stress to myself or to others?
Some examples of hazing include, but are not limited to:
- Forcing, requiring or supporting consumption of excessive amounts of alcohol or any other drug; or undesirable substances such as spoiled food.
- Forcing, requiring or supporting individuals to receive haircuts, wear certain clothing, carry particular items with them, or other similar activities that identify them as members of a group rather than as individuals.
- Forcing an individual to participate in an activity that challenges and/or humiliates their culture, gender, sexuality, sex, religion, race, age, ability or body.
- Forcing, requiring or supporting ‘nudie runs’, being questioned under uncomfortable situations, or performing personal services to current members such as carrying their books, doing their laundry, buying them food or similar.
- Providing individuals with a list of activities that they must complete that have the potential to harm the individual (physically or emotionally), are illegal, or risk the reputation of the individual and the University of Newcastle.
- Hazing can also be more subtle, such as name calling, ignoring new members, or other forms of harassment.
What we can do
If you see it: Have you identified a problem?
Get help. Remember to consider everyone’s safety including your own. Getting help from staff or security may be the best option. If you live on campus you can contact Student Living for assistance 24/7 on 4913 8888
You CAN act: There are a number of ways you could respond. If it is safe to do so, let the person experiencing the behaviour know that it not an expectation of the community to participate, and it is not a supported practice. If participation in the activity goes ahead; check in with them after the incident, and offer your support to seek assistance in dealing with the incident.
Call the behaviour out! Let the person organising or administering the hazing know that the actions are not ok, or question what they are trying to achieve by doing it. Remind them that it is not in line with the beliefs of the community, and jeopardises their position at the University.
Report the incident
Concerns for the immediate safety of anyone at any time should be reported directly to Security Services. If you live on campus you can also contact Student Living for assistance and support 24/7 on 4913 8888.
If you experience it:
Maybe it seemed ok at the time, but now you’re not so sure and feel strange or worried about the experience. Maybe you never felt ok about it, but didn’t think you had a choice. You may be impacted by it in ways you weren’t expecting.
For support and advice outside of business hours – 5pm-9am weekdays, 24 hours on weekends and public holidays – contact the UON After-hours Crisis Support Line.
- Ph: 1300 653 007
- SMS: 0488 884 165
Free Translating and Interpreting Service
A free interpreting service is available for people who do not speak English.
This service can be used with selected organisations, including Lifeline, the UON Crisis Support Line, UON Counselling and emergency services.
To access this service, call the Translating and Interpreting Service on 131 450 and ask to talk to the organisation you need (e.g., Lifeline on 13 11 14) in the language required. TIS will then call the organisation, and provide translation.
A call to Translating and Interpreting Service is the cost of a local call from landlines (additional charges apply for mobiles).
Georgetown University (n.d.) Why do people haze? Retrieved from https://stophazing.georgetown.edu/why-do-people-haze
Lipkins, S. (2014) Inside Hazing. Retrieved from https://www.insidehazing.com/definitions
Hazing Prevention.Org; hazing and its consequences; retrieved from https://hazingprevention.org/home/hazing/hazing-and-its-consequences/Resources For students and staff