Longwood University is committed to the belief that abusive behavior, harassment and assault does not build character, does not build leadership skills, and does not foster group loyalty or unity.

Hazing is an abuse of power and relationships, and its purpose is to demean others.

Hazing is defined as any action taken or situation created intentionally, whether on or off Longwood property, by either fraternity/sorority organizations, student clubs/organizations, athletic teams, individual students or student groups, to produce mental or physical discomfort, endangerment of life, embarrassment, harassment, intimidation, or ridicule. Willingness to engage in any hazing activity does not render the Anti-Hazing Policy unenforceable.

Context matters

While some behaviors constitute hazing regardless of context (e.g., paddling, use of alcohol), others depend on the circumstances. For example, requiring athletes to perform normal calisthenics as part of conditioning would not be hazing, but requiring new members of a non-athletic student organization to do push-ups in the middle of the night would constitute hazing.

Hazing Myths vs. Facts

If someone agrees to participate in an activity, it can't be considered hazing.

Under Virginia law and Longwood policy, the fact that a person consented to a hazing activity is not a defense. The peer pressure and desire to belong in a student organization can create a coercive environment where true consent cannot be given.

A little hazing should be okay, as long as there's no mean-spirited or harmful intent.

Hazing is illegal under Virginia law and violates University policy. It does not become okay, legal, or permissible if no harm is intended.

Hazing builds unity among new member.

Engaging in unlawful behavior is not the way to build unity.  There are many activities not involving hazing that help new members connect to the group and to other individuals. 

Hazing is okay as long as it is not physically dangerous.

Hazing is not just dangerous because it can cause physical harm. Hazing can also cause mental and emotional distress both to the person hazing, and the one being hazed.

Hazing only exists in sororities and fraternities.

Hazing is not just dangerous because it can cause physical harm. Hazing can also cause mental and emotional distress both to the person hazing, and the one being hazed.

Hazing incidents can happen in any club or student organization, including athletic teams, ROTC/military associations, performing arts groups, faith-based organizations, and student government.

Examples of Hazing

Hazing includes a range of activities that can be intimidating, harassing or violent.  Any form of hazing, as described in university policy, is prohibited. Statistics show that hazing activities that are intimidating or harassing happen more often in organizations, but often go unrecognized as hazing.  Hazing activities that are violent occur less often in organizations, however they are more likely to be recognized as hazing.

Examples of hazing include, but are not limited to:


  • Lies, tricks or dishonesty,
  • Assigning demerits,
  • Silence periods with implied threats for violation,
  • Socially isolating new members,
  • Demeaning names, and
  • Expecting someone to have certain items with them at all times.


  • Verbal abuse,
  • Threats or implied threats,
  • Asking new members to wear embarrassing clothes,
  • Asking new members to act as personal servants to current members,
  • Skit nights with degrading or humiliating acts,
  • Requiring new members to recite facts, songs or chants,
  • Sleep deprivation,
  • Sexual simulations,
  • Forced or coerced consumption of food, drink, alcohol or drugs,
  • Beating paddling, or other forms of physical assault,
  • Branding,
  • Forced ingestion of vile substances,
  • Abduction or "kidnaps," and
  • Sexual assault.

Allan, 2015adapted from Bringing in the Bystander, Prevention Innovations

Hazing Warning Signs

If you answer "no" to any of these questions, it's probably hazing:

  • Does this activity promote leadership, sport, or academic skills?
  • Does this activity promote and conform to the ideals and values of your sport, organization or fraternity/sorority?
  • Will this activity increase feelings of friendship between new and returning members?
  • Would you tell prospective members what they will go through?
  • Would you be willing to allow parents to witness this activity?  A judge?  Your Coach/Advisor?  The University President?
  • Would you be willing to defend this activity in court?
  • Does the activity meet both the spirit and letter of the standards prohibiting hazing?


If you or your Organization is Hazing, Remember

  • A lawsuit can ruin your group and financially devastate you and your family
  • A reputation for hazing can negatively impact members' future employment or graduate school applications

Think about...

Effective ways to achieve the group's pro-social goals without hazing.

Learning ways to build group cohesiveness without hazing will develop skills that can be used after graduation.


You will be more likely to generate committed alumni support without hazing.

Without hazing, you won't have anything to hide or regret and will leave a positive legacy for future generations of members.