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What is Hazing?

The University of Washington prohibits student organizations and athletic teams from engaging individually or collectively in hazing activities.


Hazing includes any act committed as part of a person’s recruitment, initiation into, pledging, admission into, or affiliation with a student organization, athletic team, or living group, or any pastime that is likely to cause, bodily danger or physical harm, or serious psychological or emotional harm, to any student. This includes causing, directing, coercing, or forcing a person to consume any food, liquid, alcohol, drug, or other substance that subjects the person to risk of such harm, regardless of the person’s willingness to participate (H.B. 1751).


Hazing is characterized as any activity that includes one or more of the characteristics described below:

  • Activities that expose personal values to compromise or ridicule
  • Activities that abuse the trust an organization strives to build between its members and prospective members
  • Stunts that have no meaningful relationship to the objectives of the organization
  • Activities that humiliate or subject individuals to circumstances with which they are not comfortable or of which they are fearful.
  • Activities that are illegal or violate University policy.
  • Activities that interfere with academic pursuits or normal life functions
  • Some examples of prohibited activities are forced swallowing of uncommon substances, forced consumption of alcohol or drugs, excessive exercise, and sleep or sensory deprivation.

The Spectrum of Hazing

Allan, E. J. & Kerschner, D. (2020). The Spectrum of Hazing, StopHazing Consulting.

Intimidation Hazing

Intimidation hazing is the lowest level offense of hazing. These are behaviors that emphasize the power imbalance between newer and older members. Below are some examples of this type of hazing:

  • Name-calling
  • Any forms of demerits
  • Duties only assigned to new members/rookies

Harassment Hazing

Harassment hazing is a mid-tier offense of hazing. These behaviors cause unnecessary emotional or physical distress. Below are some examples of this type of hazing:

  • Verbal abuse
  • Requiring new members/rookies to perform personal service toward an older member
  • Any form of questioning under pressure or uncomfortable situation

Violent Hazing

Violence hazing is the highest form of hazing an organization or team can exhibit. These behaviors are intended to cause harm physically, emotionally, and psychologically. Below are some examples of this type of hazing:

  • Forced alcohol consumption
  • Sexual violation
  • Assault (i.e. paddling)

Student organizations or athletic teams whose members participate in hazing activities will be subject to appropriate University disciplinary action.