WVU is committed to fostering a safe and inclusive campus community. There is no place for hazing at WVU, and it is prohibited according to the WVU Student Conduct Code as well as West Virginia state law.
A violation of this prohibition renders both the organization and participating individuals subject to discipline. Any student who is aware of or in the presence of hazing is also subject to discipline. If you or someone you know suspect hazing is occurring, please alert us so appropriate action can be taken.
What is Hazing?
“Hazing” is any activities or tasks expected of someone joining a group that are meant to humiliate, degrade or harm them — regardless of that person’s willingness to participate. That means even if a student agrees to the activities, it can still be considered hazing. And it can be illegal.
An activity is probably hazing if:
- the activity is not educational;
- it does not represent the values of the group;
- only select members are participating;
- you do not feel like an equal member of the group;
- it puts members at risk for physical, mental or emotional trauma;
- or you would not feel comfortable having others witness your activity.
Step 1: Assess the Situation
Is it an emergency? Are you or someone else in immediate danger? If so, dial 911 or call University Police at 304-293-3136 for emergency services.
Remember, the medical amnesty policy states that anyone who seeks emergency assistance for a person who appears to be experiencing an overdose from alcohol or drugs may not get in trouble. Don’t wait – call for help!
Step 2: Report Hazing
- Complete the Public Incident Report form.
- Contact the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 304-293-8111.
- If the complaint relates to Greek organizations, call the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life at 304-293-8201.
Step 3: Seek Counseling
If you need counseling to deal with the effects of hazing, the Carruth Center offers free counseling to WVU students.
What Happens After Hazing is Reported?
- When hazing is reported, whether by a named person or anonymously, it is always investigated. Hazing can be reported if it is happening directly to you or if it is happening to someone else.
- Once a report is received, the case is referred to the University’s police department. UPD will do an investigation and see if there is enough to file criminal charges. Hazing is a crime in West Virginia.
- If there is enough to charge a person or a group criminally, the police will do so, and then the University investigation begins. Please know that protecting you and keeping your report anonymous throughout the entire process is important to WVU and we have structures set in place to do so. We will do our best to respect your privacy, so please be honest, thorough and transparent.
Potential Signs of Hazing
If you observe any of the following signs in someone you know, they may be experiencing hazing:
- sudden change in behavior after joining the group
- physical, mental and emotional exhaustion
- lack of communication
- avoiding sharing the experiences they’re having in the group
- claiming the experiences they’re having in the group are acceptable because “it’s their tradition” or because “it’s a rite of passage for new members”
- decreased performance in school and other activities
- physical abnormalities like scars, bruising, broken bones, illness and other injuries
- weight loss
- anger, anxiety, depression and other emotional signs
- cancelling plans with friends or family at the last minute to do something with the group instead
- an immense sense of loyalty to the group
- other irregular behavior patterns
How to Prevent Hazing
- Make your group aware of the dangers of hazing and its consequences.
- Educate all members on hazing, its signs, how to report it and ways to prevent it.
- Foster a safe, inclusive environment within your group by creating alternative group bonding and teamwork activities.
- Encourage members to report any signs of hazing.
- Take reports of hazing seriously and investigate them.
- Hold your members and leaders accountable if hazing arises. If a member knows hazing is occurring and fails to report it, they are just as responsible as those engaging in hazing.
Would You? Campaign
If someone needed your help, would you intervene?
The Would You? campaign ties together efforts to educate and empower all members of a campus about taking care of each other – including anti-hazing efforts, the medical amnesty policy, safety programs and wellness programming.
- WVU Hazing Prevention Task Force
- Medical Amnesty Policy
- WVU Student Conduct Code, refer to Section 6 (Prohibited Conduct), Subsection 6.2 (Specific Acts), Item “s” for hazing
- WVU Anti-Hazing Agreement
- WellWVU Alcohol and Other Drug Programs
- Hazing Prevention 101, a required online education program for all new members of WVU Greek organizations