The Juniata College Athletic Department supports only those activities which constructively enhance the academic, social, spiritual, and athletic experience of it’s student-athletes, and which contribute to the personal growth of those student-athletes. Therefore, the Athletic Department views hazing of any type whether committed or arranged by athletic teams (or members of an athletic team) as an unacceptable practice at our institution.
Furthermore, the Juniata College Athletic Department recognizes and supports the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Anti-Hazing Law, Act 175 of 1986. This law defines hazing 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.”
What do new teammates expect from being on a team?
- To meet people and make friends;
- To have a positive experience with their team;
- To learn about the history of the team;
- To be a part of positive team traditions;
- To feel wanted and needed;
- To know what the team expects from them;
- To be respected as an individual and member;
- To get help in adjusting to campus life, college classes, and team responsibilities;
- To have fair treatment and not be subservient to older members;
- To get guidance from older team members;
- To get to participate in a sport in college.
I fought the law, and the law won
Be sure to realize that none of the following are legally acceptable defenses to a charge of hazing:
- the participants took part voluntarily
- the participants voluntarily assumed the risks or hardship of the activity
- that no injury in fact was suffered.
Debunking hazing myths, part 1
Myth: Hazing builds team unity.
Fact: Hazing does nothing for team unity. All it does is split a team into “hazers” and “hazees”. How is it that new members of your team are supposed to be accepted by separating them from the rest of the team?
So take this test...
Before you embark in any questionable team activity, ask yourself these questions. If you answer “no” to any of them, then you are hazing and the in-question activity should be eliminated.
- Does this experience enhance the academic, social, spiritual, and athletic experience of the participant?
- Does this activity promote and conform to the ideal and values of the team, department, and school?
- Will this activity increase the new members’ respect for the team and for the team members?
- Is it an activity that all members participate in together?
- Would you be willing to allow parents to witness this activity? A judge? President Kepple?
- Would a Fortune 500 company do this activity as a team building activity?
- Does this activity have value in and of itself?
If you still are unsure, ask yourself this question: “Is this activity hazing?” Then, a good rule of thumb is:
if you have to ask if what you are doing is hazing, it probably is!
Debunking hazing myths, part 2
Myth: Hazing is an effective way to teach respect and develop discipline.
Fact: First of all, respect must be earned, not taught. Victims of hazing rarely report having respect for their hazers. Rather than respect, hazing breeds mistrust, apathy, and alienation.
If you still have to ask, but are afraid of the answer...
You know “if you have to ask, it probably is”, but if you don’t want to ask, here are some examples of hazing. Recognize this is not even close to being an exhaustive list.
- Any form of forced physical activity and exercise, whether extreme or not (e.g., push-ups, sit-ups, runs, walks, etc.; whether on land, floor, or some other surface such as mud, snow, etc.)
- Any striking, beating, hitting, etc.
- Forcing or requiring new members to ingest any liquid or solid matter, edible or non-edible (e.g., any alcoholic substance, goldfish, food, etc.)
- Dropping food (eggs, grapes, etc.) or any other item into the mouths of new members
- Requiring anyone to wear unusual, conspicuous, embarrassing, or uncomfortable clothing, or clothing that is not normally considered to be in good taste
- Humiliation in front of non-members by reference to membership
- Jumping on the “nail” (which is actually a piece of aluminum foil)
- Carrying or wearing objects designed to make someone look foolish
- Degrading games and activities
- Tests of courage or bravery
- Any situation that risks serious harm or damage to an individual, whether physical or mental
- Any activity that would otherwise compromise the dignity of the individual
- Nudity at any time; causing someone to be indecently exposed or embarrassed
- Any activity using a blindfold
- Throwing whipped cream, water, paint, etc. at someone
- Personal errands run by new members for current members (servitude)
- Anything to be done solely for the entertainment of old members
- Use of ice, water, fire, or food in a manner not consistent with the proper use
- Any use of materials (nails, lumber, clothes, whatever) in any activity not consistent with proper use.
- Forcing an individual to participate in any activity or become involved in any situation that is in violation of the law; contrary to the person’s genuine moral or religious beliefs; or contrary to the rules and regulations of Juniata or the involved team
Flounder didn’t do this in “Animal House”
Here are some healthy team-building alternatives to hazing:
- Eat meals together
- Have a picnic
- Make ice cream runs
- Take a day trip
- Make an overnight trip
- Go see a movie
- Go to the lake
- Condition as a team
- Lift as a team
- Study as a team
- Play a different sport for fun
- Have a goal setting session
- Volunteer in the community
- Be active on campus
- Work with Big Brothers/Big Sisters
- Escort recruits to lunch
- Play a game
- Have a “war story” session
- Do something with another team
- Go to a JC game and cheer like crazy.
Debunking hazing myths, part 3
Myth: Hazing is nothing more than foolish pranks or fun.
Fact: Hazing is an act of power and control over others—it is victimization. It is pre-meditated, and NOT accidental. It is abusive, degrading, and, in the worst cases, life-threatening.
Break the tradition. Be proactive. Be creative. Build your team in reasonable ways. Earn the respect and trust of your teammates by treating them, like you would want to be treated.