Hazing: any activity or situation created, intentionally, whether on or off fraternity premises, to produce mental or physical discomfort, embarrassment, or ridicule.
Sigma Tau Gamma was founded with the understanding that all men are social creatures and friendships made in college are lasting ones. To our Founders, the word “social” was not a synonym for parties. Rather, it was a description of uplifting interaction between people. It incorporated the concepts of empathy, good manners, and the mutual advancement of society. The founding Principles of Sigma Tau Gamma stand in direct contradiction to the concept of hazing.
Sigma Tau Gamma’s Member Safety & Wellness Policy explicitly prohibits hazing.
Our Creed, written by Edward H. McCune, Founder, and Fourth National President, begins with: “I believe that the true spirit of Fraternalism is a personal devotion to one’s ideals.”
Hazing is dishonorable to the Principles of the Fraternity. It is extremely harmful to the reputation of Sigma Tau Gamma and it is a serious threat to the continued existence of Sigma Tau Gamma and the fraternal world. Every member must understand and take seriously their responsibility to see that hazing does not occur in any form.
IF SOMEONE IS IN DANGER, CALL 911
If you want to report hazing or suspect a hazing incident that is not immediately putting someone in danger, contact Sigma Tau Gamma Headquarters, University Administration, or Campus Police.
TOLL-FREE + CONFIDENTIAL
As of March 1, 2018, Sigma Tau Gamma has adopted a Medical Good Samaritan Policy:
A chapter that seeks immediate and appropriate medical assistance for a person in need related to the use or consumption of alcohol or drugs, or related to another medical emergency, may be eligible for mitigation of charges related to violations of fraternity rules or policies, and further;
To be eligible for this potential mitigation the chapter will be required to meet in person or by phone with a Headquarters Staff member or an alumni volunteer designated by the fraternity. A chapter may benefit from this policy more than once, though repeated use of the policy may receive stricter scrutiny. The efforts of the chapter in advance of the incident to minimize the risk of harm to members or participants will be of great weight in considering mitigating circumstances.
If a member assists another person in obtaining immediate and appropriate medical care related to the use or consumption of alcohol, or drugs, or related to another medical emergency the member as well as those who are assisted, will not be subject to individual disciplinary action by Headquarters or an alumni group or alumnus with respect to the incident, and further;
this would be the case even if the member who is assisting were a contributing factor to that emergency unless that member acted with intent to harm. An individual may benefit from this policy more than once, though repeated use of the policy may receive stricter scrutiny. Any intentionally false statement made about the incident to an investigator acting for the fraternity would be a new and distinct violation of fraternity rules and policies.
Not only is hazing immoral, it may be illegal.
Nearly every state in the U.S. has laws against hazing, which means it’s a misdemeanor or felony that should be reported to law enforcement.
Hazing has a negative impact on everyone involved.
The following resources are adapted from HazingPrevention.Org
Impact on the person being hazed:
- Physical, emotional, and/or mental instability
- Sleep deprivation
- Loss of sense of control and empowerment
- Decline in grades and coursework
- Relationships with friends, significant others, and family suffer
- Post-traumatic stress syndrome
- Loss of respect for and interest in being a part of the organization
- Erosion of trust within the group members
Impact on those who haze:
- Suspension or expulsion from organization and/or university
- Legal action, including misdemeanor or felony charges and/or jail time
- Damage to one’s personal reputation
- Warped sense of leadership
- Feelings of shame or guilt
Impact on Sigma Tau Gamma
- Loss of reputation within the community, local area, and nationally
- Loss of recognition for the organization
- Civil damages may be levied
Hazing and Trauma – The Hidden Harm
Hidden Harm is a phrase used to describe the effects of a previous trauma. These hidden harms can be both physical and psychological, and they can have long-lasting effects on the individual. Hidden harms can manifest from a variety of past experiences – war, abuse, hazing, violence, families with alcohol abuse, and other sources.
Traumatic injuries have been caused by hazing practices. Many times, we first hear about an act of hazing when it has reached a physical extreme, and when someone has been physically injured, or when someone has died. There have been numerous cases of traumatic brain injuries due to beatings and other hazing rituals, and many cases where hazing victims have been hospitalized. Many times, the act of hazing is exposed when a victim is hospitalized.
Sometimes because of shame or self-blame we do not hear about the psychological effects of hazing, and these many cases do not make the news, or are reported in the same way that physical trauma is. But the negative psychological effects of hazing can be both long-lasting and just as traumatic to the victim and their families. These can include depression, suicide, poor grades, withdrawal from activities and shame. This harm can persist into adulthood and can undermine the well-being of a person.
What we don’t know about another individual can be the ultimate harm of hazing. Someone who just joined an organization or team could have experienced something in their lives that makes them highly susceptible to serious repercussions if they’re hazed. Hazing can be physically and/or psychologically harmful to even perfectly healthy individuals but mix hazing with any one of thousands of previous experiences and the damage can increase exponentially.
Consider the “baggage” that today’s students can bring with them to high school or college;
- Depression or other mental health issues
- Military service in a war zone
- Been the victim of sexual assault. Comes from an alcoholic family
- Suffered the painful loss of a close friend or family member
- Has had an alcohol or other addiction
- Has seriously considered or attempted suicide
- Is on medication for a mental health disorder
- Has been abused physically or emotionally
- Has been hazed or bullied before
Any of these, and more we can’t imagine, could put someone at a higher risk of being re-traumatized by hazing
For more information, read this article called Hidden Harm of Hazing: Engaging Peers in This Important Discussion by Travis Apgar.