"Hazing" is any activity expected of someone to join a group (or maintain status in a group) that humiliates, degrades or risks emotional and/or physical harm, regardless of the person's willingness to participate.
In the past, hazing practices were typically considered harmless pranks or comical antics associated with young men in university settings.
However, hazing can be experienced by people of all genders in school groups, university organisations, athletic teams, and other social and professional organisations. Hazing is a complex social problem that is shaped by power dynamics operating in a group and within a particular cultural context.
Hazing activities are generally considered to be physically abusive, hazardous, and/or sexually violating. The specific behaviours or activities within these categories vary widely among participants, groups, and settings.
While alcohol use is common in many types of hazing, other examples of typical hazing practices include:
It is impossible to list all possible hazing behaviours because many are context-specific.
The following are some examples of hazing divided into three categories: subtle, harassment, and violent.
Subtle hazing includes behaviours that emphasise a power imbalance between new members / first years and other members of the group or team. They are termed “subtle hazing” because these types of hazing are often taken for granted or accepted as “harmless” or meaningless.
Subtle hazing typically involves activities or attitudes that breach reasonable standards of mutual respect and place new members / first years on the receiving end of ridicule, embarrassment, and/or humiliation tactics. New members / first years often feel the need to endure subtle hazing to feel like part of the group or team. (Some types of subtle hazing may also be considered harassment hazing).
Harassment hazing includes behaviours that cause emotional anguish or physical discomfort to feel like part of the group. It confuses, frustrates, and causes undue stress for new members / first years. (Some types of harassment hazing can also be considered violent hazing).
Behaviours that have the potential to cause physical and/or emotional, or psychological harm.
Hazing can include a wide range of activities, and asking yourselves these questions can help you identify the experience:
One way you can help prevent these behaviours is to be ready to help others or yourself. This is called being an active bystander. An active bystander is someone who becomes aware of a situation where hazing has occurred and acts.
If you have witnessed or experienced these behaviours, support is available. You can complete our online form to have a confidential conversation with us.
Hazing is often about power, control and establishing dominance. Hazing does not build community, in fact the opposite, it creates division, separates people into groups and does nothing to foster trust, unity or respect. The impact of hazing can be significant for everyone involved.
As students, you will have an expectation that Charles Sturt University is a place to learn, interact and engage in a safe, inclusive and respectful environment.
The policies that shape this vision are available for everyone to know and understand:
As part of this commitment, we have also identified behaviours that are not acceptable in our community. Our definitive statement is that hazing practices are unacceptable at Charles Sturt University. Charles Sturt University is a values-driven organisation, priding ourselves on making our values part of our daily lives. These values - being insightful, inclusive, impactful and inspiring - aim to guide our behaviour and help us achieve our ethos of respectfully knowing how to live well in a world worth living in.
We welcome your ideas to this conversation, helping us to continually define what "safe and respectful" means to you.