Hazing and Prevention

Hazing is a violation of the FIU Student Code of Conduct as well as Florida State law. Hazing is defined as any group or individual action or activity that inflicts or intends to inflict physical or mental harm or discomfort or which may demean, disgrace, or degrade any person, regardless of location, intent, or consent of participant(s). Hazing includes, but is not limited to forced consumption of any food, alcohol, controlled substances, drugs, or any other substance, forced physical activity, deprivation of food or sleep, physical abuse of any nature, and verbal abuse, including yelling or demands.

In the State of Florida, hazing is a criminal offense. A person commits hazing, a third degree felony, when he or she intentionally or recklessly commits any act of hazing upon another person who is a member of or an applicant to any type of student organization and the hazing results in serious bodily injury or death of such other person. A person commits a first degree misdemeanor when he or she intentionally or recklessly commits any act of hazing upon another person who is a member of or an applicant to any type of student organization and the hazing creates a substantial risk of physical injury or death to such other person.

It is not a defense to a charge of hazing that:

  • The consent of the victim had been obtained;
  • The conduct or activity that resulted in the death or injury of a person was not part of an official organizational event or was not otherwise sanctioned or approved by the organization; or
  • The conduct or activity that resulted in death or injury of the person was not done as a condition of membership to an organization.

Hazing activities are not only associated with Greek organizations but have occurred as a part of athletic teams, and other clubs and organizations on campus. FIU holds student organizations and individuals students accountable through the FIU Student Conduct Process, will face disciplinary sanctions, and can be held criminally liable.

In the FIU Student Code of Conduct, the Hazing violation is outlined as follows:

6. (i) Hazing

Any group or individual action or activity that inflicts or intends to inflict physical or mental harm or discomfort or which may demean, disgrace, or degrade any person, regardless of location, intent, or consent of participant(s). Although hazing is related to a person’s initiation or admission into, or affiliation with, a student group or organization, it is not necessary to have direct proof that a person’s initiation or continued membership is contingent upon participation in the activity for a charge of hazing to be upheld. The actions of either active or associate members (pledges) of an organization may be considered hazing. Hazing includes, but is not limited to:

    1. Interference with a student’s academic performance.
    2. Forced consumption of any food, alcohol, controlled substances, drugs, or any other substance.
    3. Forced physical activity.
    4. Deprivation of food or sleep.
    5. Kidnapping, including restricting a person to move about in free and lawful manner.
    6. Physical abuse of any nature.
    7. Performing personal chores or errands.
    8. Verbal abuse or degradation, including yelling or demands.
    9. Assigning or endorsing pranks (i.e. stealing, harassing other organizations, defacing property, etc.).
    10. Any action or threatened action that would subject the individual to embarrassment, humiliation or mental distress, including the use of demeaning names.

FIU's Hazing Prevention Efforts

Florida International University has zero tolerance for hazing. There are many policies and procedures in place to safeguard against hazing activities.  Beyond the polices, the following points demonstrate preventative efforts directed to educate students in regards to hazing:

  • The Department of Campus Life policies and the constitution of all Greek Councils clearly prohibit hazing and give rationale and resources.
  • The Sorority and Fraternity Life website has a link to the FIU statement on hazing.
  • Order of Omega, in conjunction with Campus Life, plans a Hazing Prevention week annually.
  • All students who sign a bid to participate in a sorority or fraternity must sign a consent form which includes the FIU Zero Tolerance Hazing Policy.
  • Hazing prevention training is covered annually in the Spring Leadership retreat with the executive board of every sorority and fraternity.
  • All student organization presidents must sign an understanding and agreement of the anti-hazing policy to become recognized by the University.
  • The Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution conducts hazing prevention and sanctioned workshops for Greek organizations, FIU Athletics, and club sports. These workshops are tailored to the targeted audience.
  • All hazing allegations against organizations and/or individuals are adjudicated by the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution.

Background

The National Study of Student Hazing (2008) is one of the more comprehensive studies in hazing and hazing prevention. With 11,000 responses and over 300 interviews from 53 college campuses nationwide, the study illustrates the problems and challenges related to student hazing. Its findings include:

  • 47% of students come to college having experienced hazing.
  • 55% of college students involved in clubs, teams, and organizations experience hazing.
  • Nine out of ten students who have experienced hazing behavior in college do not consider themselves to have been hazed.
  • In 95% of the cases where students identified their experience as hazing, they did not report the events to campus officials.
  • There are public aspects to student hazing i.e. students talk with peers or a friend (48%), to another group member (41%), or to family (26%) about their hazing experiences.

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Chad Meredith's Story

In 2001, University of Miami student Chad Meredith returned from a concert and began drinking with two officers of Kappa Sigma, a fraternity he wished to join. After several hours of drinking, the group tried to swim across Lake Osceola near campus. Meredith had a blood alcohol level of 0.13. He drowned 34 feet from shore in six feet nine inches of water. Although, the fraternity officers protested that the incident was not a fraternity-sanctioned hazing event, a jury found otherwise, and awarded the deceased student’s family a $12.6 million verdict in a negligence suit based on hazing.

Chad Meredith Act, HB 193, Fla. Statutes

Contact

Modesto A. Maidique Campus
GC 311
11200 SW 8th St.
Miami, FL 33199

305-348-3939
Fax 305-348-6477

conduct@fiu.edu

Office Hours

Monday – Friday: 8 am to 5 pm

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