Saint Joseph’s University prohibits all forms for hazing. Hazing is defined by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as ” Any action or situation which recklessly or intentionally endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student or which willfully destroys or removes public or private property for the purpose of initiation or admission into or affiliation with, or as a condition for continued membership in, any organization operating under the sanction of or recognized as an organization by an institution of higher education. The term shall include, but not be limited to, any brutality of a physical nature, such as whipping, beating, branding, forced calisthenics, exposure to the elements, forced consumption of any food, liquor, drug or other substance, or any other forced physical activity which could adversely affect the physical health and safety of the individual, and shall include any activity which would subject the individual to extreme mental stress, such as sleep deprivation, forced exclusion from social contact, forced conduct which could result in extreme embarrassment, or any other forced activity which could adversely affect the mental health or dignity of the individual, or any willful destruction or removal of public or private property. For purposes of this definition, any activity as described in this definition upon which the initiation or admission into or affiliation with or continued membership in an organization is directly or indirectly conditioned shall be presumed to be “forced” activity, the willingness of an individual to participate in such activity notwithstanding.” Furthermore, the Anti-Hazing Law of Pennsylvania states that any person who causes or participates in hazing commits a misdemeanor of the third degree.Aside from the legal aspect of hazing, the University believes that hazing is contrary to the Christian teaching of human dignity and contradicts an environment of friendship, maturity, and charity within its collegiate community. Individuals found responsible of hazing may be fined, placed on probation, suspended or dismissed. Likewise, organizations, clubs, and teams may be fined, placed on probation or disbanded. Other sanctions may also be appropriately issued. Organizations, teams, or chapters may also face sanctions by University departments under which they function. For Greek Life chapters, this also includes sanctions from national/international organizations.

What is Hazing?

Hazing is any activity expected of someone joining or participating in a group, whether on or off campus premises, that humiliates, degrades, abuses, or endangers them regardless of a person’s willingness to participate.Three key components of this definition include: 
1.) Group context: Associated with the process of joining and maintaining membership in a group;
2) Abusive behavior: Activities that are potentially humiliating and degrading, with potential to cause physical, psychological and/or emotional harm; and
3) Regardless of an individual’s willingness to participate: The “choice” to participate may be offset by the peer pressure and coercive/power dynamics that often exist in the context of gaining membership in a group.


Specific violations of this policy include, but are not limited to:

  • Requiring the participation in conduct that is in violation of any federal, state, or local law or any University policy, rule, or regulation.
  • Requiring the consumption of any food, liquor, drug, or other substance;
  • Requiring participation in physical activities, such as calisthenics, exercise, or other games or activities requiring physical exertion;
  • Exposing another to weather elements or other physically or emotionally uncomfortable situations;
  • Forcing excessive fatigue from sleep deprivation, physical activities, or exercise;
  • Requiring anything that can be reasonably expected to be morally offensive to another;
  • Committing or requiring any act that demeans another based on race, gender, ability, sexual orientation, religion, or age;
  • Committing any act of physical brutality against another, including, but not limited to, paddling, striking with fists, open hands or objects, and branding;
  • Kidnapping or transporting another with the intent of stranding him or her;
  • Committing verbal abuse;
  • Forcing or requiring conduct that can be reasonably expected to embarrass or adversely affect the dignity of another, including the performance of public stunts and activities such as scavenger hunts;
  • Intentionally creating work or labor for another;
  • Denying sufficient time for study or other academic activities; or
  • Committing or requiring another to commit any sexual act or engage in lewd behavior.

For purposes of this policy, any activity as described, in which the initiation or admission into or affiliation with an organization is directly or indirectly conditioned shall be presumed to be “forced” activity, the willingness of an individual to participate in such activity notwithstanding.