West Virginia Wesleyan College Policy on Hazing

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Type: Policy

Status: Ongoing

Source File: http://www.wvwc.edu/GreekAffairs/HazingPolicy.asp


Statement on Hazing
Participation in a co-curricular group can be one of the most meaningful and rewarding aspects of student life. Hazing is a hidden and serious problem across higher education and not unique to West Virginia Wesleyan College. The college seeks to promote a safe environment where students may participate in activities and organizations without compromising their health, safety or welfare. It is, therefore, the college's policy that hazing is prohibited. The impact of hazing activities can result in irrevocable harm to its victims, their families and the college community which undermines the value of these experiences for many individuals.

Prevention of hazing is the responsibility of every member of the college community. Each organization, as well as each individual, must accept the personal obligation to uphold the basic community values of being just, civil and respectful of the rights of others, and college policies.

I. Definitions:

a. Organization
"Organization" will specify an athletic team, association, order, society, cooperative, club, student organization, fraternity, sorority or other similar group that is affiliated with the college and whose membership consists primarily of students enrolled at the college. "Organization" includes a local chapter, unit or other local division consisting primarily of students, regardless of the nature of the membership of the larger public or private organization.

b. Hazing
"Hazing is defined as an act that, as an explicit or implicit condition for initiation to, admission into, affiliation with, or continued membership in a group or organization, could be seen by a reasonable person as endangering the physical health of an individual or as causing mental distress to an individual through, for example and not limited to, humiliating, intimidating, or demeaning treatment; destroys or removes public or private property; involves the consumption of alcohol, other drugs, or other substances; or violates any of the policies of the college."

II. Alcohol Consumption and Hazing
Any consumption of alcohol, other drugs, or other substances that is "an explicit or implicit condition for initiation to, admission into, affiliation with, or continued membership in a group or organization" is hazing. This definition is applied regardless of the level of pressure to drink and will be classified as a level one offense.

III. Disciplinary Oversight of Reported Incidents
The "committee on hazing" will oversee all reports concerning suspected hazing activities with individuals and organizations for an appropriate institutional response. The committee will determine the level of concern and then assign jurisdiction to address the reported violation. The committee reserves the right to adjudicate the case or defer to other prearranged procedures such as a "show cause hearing" with Greek life organizations or send the case to the college's judicial board system. A minor incident may be referred back to the advisor, coach, or self-governing board for remediation of the reported concern and the abovementioned must reply back with a written report of corrective action to discourage any further violation. All records of hazing incidents will be kept with the office of Judicial Affairs to indicate problematic trends that will assist the institution in responding with an appropriate measure of the repeat offender. The "committee on hazing" will consist of the following: Dean of Students, Greek Affairs Coordinator, Director of Athletics, Judicial Coordinator, one faculty, and one student. All appointments are made by the Dean of Students.

IV. The Sunshine Policy of Hazing
Wesleyan's Interfraternity Council (IFC), Panhellenic Association (Panhel), and the Athletic Department have demonstrated bold leadership by co-sponsoring an adoption of a "Sunshine Policy" through which "misconduct that exhibits hazing and classified as a "major violation" will have their actions made public upon a guilty verdict". The "committee on hazing" will approve the content of the write-up prior to web-site publication of the incident and will allow the advisor/coach of the offending organization to review the statement. The organization may request a hearing to suggest changes to the write-up before publication. After final approval of the content, the violation will be placed on Wesleyan's web-site under hazing. This policy is intended for all recognized co-curricular groups of West Virginia Wesleyan College.

The College's Goal
Wesleyan's goal, when possible, is to educate and promote change within organizations that haze. In most cases, fraternities and sororities that are caught hazing will be required to participate in the anti-hazing Compliance Program in which they will work with a consultant to revise their new member process. Athletic teams are subject to college policy and NCAA rules and will be dealt with by the Director of Athletics. In some hazing cases, however, it is neither feasible nor appropriate to seek change. In such cases, the offending organization will be closed and lose College recognition.