Seton Hall University

Non-Hazing Policy

I. Purpose

Hazing is contrary to the principles and Catholic mission of Seton Hall University. The purpose of this policy is to prohibit acts of hazing in connection with the admission, acceptance, or retention process of any group, organization, or athletic activity and to prohibit retaliation for bringing a claim alleging a violation of this policy or participating in a review of any such claim.

II. Scope

This policy applies to all University students, organizations, and groups and to all Trustees, Regents, officers, faculty, administrators, staff members, employees, vendors and guests, on and off campus. This policy does not abridge or supersede an individual’s rights and remedies under the law.

III. Definitions

Seton Hall University defines hazing as any action taken or situation created (on or off campus) to cause, or place, a student in jeopardy of physical or mental harm, discomfort, embarrassment, ridicule or mistreatment, for the purpose of admission, acceptance, or retention in an organizational or group setting.  This definition includes, but is not limited to, all acts of illegal hazing prohibited by State law, which include:

(1) causes, coerces, or otherwise induces another person to commit an act that violates federal or State criminal law;

(2) causes, coerces, or otherwise induces another person to consume any food, liquid, alcoholic liquid, drug or other substance which subjects the person to a risk of emotional or physical harm or is otherwise deleterious to the person’s health;

(3) subjects another person to abuse, mistreatment, harassment, or degradation of a physical nature, including, but not limited to, whipping, beating, branding, excessive calisthenics, or exposure to the elements;

(4) subjects another person to abuse, mistreatment, harassment, or degradation of a mental or emotional nature, including, but not limited to, activity adversely affecting the mental or emotional health or dignity of the individual, sleep deprivation, exclusion from social contact, or conduct that could result in extreme embarrassment;

(5) subjects another person to abuse, mistreatment, harassment, or degradation of a sexual nature; or

(6) subjects another person to any other activity that creates a reasonable likelihood of bodily injury to the person.

IV. Policy

A. Hazing Prohibited. The University strictly prohibits individuals from engaging in or encouraging others to engage in activities that constitute hazing, as defined above. Hazing is often required or implied as a condition of inclusion or exclusion from a group, whether formal or informal. Hazing may be perpetuated by individual(s) against individual(s), individual(s) against group, group against individual(s), or group against group.
  
Hazing does not include any reasonable and customary athletic, law enforcement or military training; contests; competitions; or events.
Examples of hazing in violation of this policy may include, but are not limited to:

  1. Physical Training: requiring calisthenics (including sit-ups, running, or any form of physically abusive or excessive exercise); any physical action or restraint that may inflict harm or pain on an individual(s), or placing a person in a position or situation of possible harm or threat.
  2. Forcing, requiring, recommending and/or coercing consumption of any alcoholic beverage or drug;
  3. Requiring ingestion of an undesirable or unwanted substance (food, drink, concoction).
  4. Harassment (whether verbal, mental or physical) of individual(s) or group(s).
  5. Scavenger hunts that require or result in theft; forced or coerced road trips and/or kidnapping.
  6. Endorsing or conducting pranks such as borrowing or stealing items, destruction of property or objects, pulling false fire alarms, or any other activity in violation of the law.
  7. Personal servitude (doing chores or errands for the group(s) or individual members).
  8. Sleep interruption or deprivation; conducting activities that do not allow adequate time to study.
  9. Any required or recommended activity taking place between midnight and 7 a.m. during the weekday (1 a.m. on weekends), or series of activities that do not allow for 8 hours of sleep per night.
  10. Morally degrading, humiliating or embarrassing games or activities.
  11. Requiring or recommending the wearing of apparel or hairstyles that are conspicuous and/or normally in bad taste. This includes unusual clothing styles, repetitious wearing of uniforms or repetitious "dressing up" (coat and tie, dresses, etc.) Clothing that refers directly to the wearer as "pledge" or other terms is not acceptable.
  12. Line-ups or any interrogation for information about the history, purpose or direction of the organization that is not consistent with legitimate testing
  13. Requiring or recommending the carrying of unusual items (rocks, plants, pumpkins, pillows, etc.).
  14. Forced isolation from other members, friends or the rest of the campus. This includes any prohibition on speaking or social interaction, including public marching or walking in lines or "on line."
  15. Deception and/or threats contrived to convince the individual he/she will not be able to join the organization, or that purposely inflicts mental stress by not revealing the requirements or basic timetable for joining.

Individuals who believe they have experienced and/or observed conduct that violates this policy or who have concerns about hazing should immediately report all such matters to the Dean of Students Office.  Complaints may be made anonymously.  All complaints of hazing must be referred to, and investigated by, the Dean of Students Office.

A person(s) or organization(s) may be charged with hazing under the University’s Student Code of Conduct, which may result in sanctions. Sanctions to persons found to have engaged in hazing may include any one or combination of the following: fines, withholding diplomas or transcripts pending compliance with the rules or payment of the fines, or probation, suspension, dismissal, or expulsion. Sanctions for organizations found to have engaged in hazing include the loss of permission for the organization to operate on campus or otherwise operate under the University’s recognition. Sanctions imposed by the University are separate from and have no effect on any criminal charges that may be brought by local law enforcement.

Neither consent of the person being hazed nor any approval or sanctioning of the hazing by an organization or group are defenses to any conduct prohibited by this policy. 

Retaliation against an individual who has made a good faith complaint of hazing or participated in the investigation of a complaint under this policy, or the law, is prohibited.  In addition, any effort to conceal information and/or hinder the investigation of a violation of this policy is strictly prohibited and may result in disciplinary action.  Such conduct may also constitute criminal conduct in New Jersey and may result in additional criminal charges brought by law enforcement.

B. State Law.  In New Jersey, hazing is a crime (N.J.S.A. 2C:40-3 et seq.).  Under New Jersey law, hazing is a third-degree crime if the hazing results in death or serious bodily injury of another person.  Hazing is a fourth-degree crime if the hazing results in bodily injury to another person.  If there is no bodily injury resulting from the hazing, it is a disorderly persons offense. Individuals found guilty of hazing may be subject to criminal penalties, including fines and/or imprisonment.  Criminal penalties may be assessed against organizations that knowingly or recklessly promote or facilitate an act of hazing including steep fines. 

Individuals and organizations are immune from prosecution if they do all of the following: 1) call 9-1-1, or otherwise contacted campus public safety, police, or emergency services, and reported that a person was in need of medical assistance due to an act of hazing; 2) in the call, provide their name and the names of the persons/groups acting in concert to commit the hazing; 3) are the first to report the emergency; and 4) remain, with those acting in concert and the person needing medical assistance, at the scene until assistance arrives and cooperate with emergency responders.  The individual who receives medical assistance as a result of the call placed is also immune from prosecution.

C. Program of Enforcement.  The University’s program of enforcement as to anti-hazing efforts is outlined in its Conduct Process (for Student Organizations) and its Student Conduct Process outlined in the Student Code of Conduct.

D. Reporting.  In accordance with the State law, the University reports all hazing violations on its website for the previous five years, including the date of charges; description of the violation, investigation, findings, and any penalties; and date of resolution. This report is updated bi-annually on January 1 and August 1.

V. Responsible Offices

Student Services
Athletics

VI. Related Policies

Student Code of Conduct
Student Athlete Handbook

VII. Approved

Approved by Mary J. Meehan, Ph.D., Interim President, on the recommendation of the Executive Cabinet on August 30, 2018.  Amended and approved by Joseph E. Nyre, Ph.D., President, on the recommendation of the Executive Cabinet, on March 22, 2022.

VIII. Effective Date

Initially adopted: August 30, 2018. First Amended: March 22, 2022.