Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How exactly do you define hazing?
A: There are many definitions. Miami University describes hazing as "Coercing another, including the victim, to do any act of initiation into, or as a condition of participation in, a student organization, fraternity or sorority, or activity that causes or creates a substantial risk of causing physical or mental harm to any person...."

Q: What types of activities should my student be participating in when joining a fraternity or sorority?
A: Most national fraternities and sororities have 6–8 week education programs that typically impart the history and characteristics of the organization, as well as allowing new members to get to know other members of the group. ALL national organizations and Miami University prohibit the use of drugs and alcohol during these programs. Most education programs culminate with an examination of the aforementioned material, and a formal initiation ritual. Typically, only the initiation ritual is secret and closed to members. Inquire about and report any activities you perceive to be harmful, unlawful, or unnecessary to joining the group.

Q: How can hazing be reported?
A: If you witness or suspect hazing, please contact the appropriate university officials immediately. Hazing can be reported via email to Unlawful behavior should always be reported to the police. There is an anonymous method for reporting illegal, unethical or other conduct that violates Miami's policies, EthicsPoint ( There is also a national hazing hotline 1-888-NOT-HAZE (1-888-668-4293).

Q: Will my student or his/her organization know if I report them for hazing?
A: As with any investigation, confidentiality is strictly enforced. What matters is identifying what, if any wrongdoing occurred, not who reported it.

Q: I was hazed, and I turned out fine. Why the big deal?
A: Unfortunately, things have changed from one generation to the next. Hazing has digressed from harmless fun to frequently alcohol-influenced situations where your student's welfare can be at great risk. Nearly all hazing deaths and serious injury involve alcohol.

Q: My student and his/her friends say that hazing occurs in every organization. Why have you not stopped it?
A: It is our hope that your student will not join an organization that hazes its members. Despite their rationale for hazing, individuals and organizations know it is wrong. For this reason, most hazing occurs off-campus and at night, and involves individuals outside of the organization. This makes it difficult for the university to enforce policy and laws involving its students. We cannot investigate allegations of hazing without a reasonable and concrete report of misconduct.

Q: What should I look for to see if my student is being hazed?
A: Look for uncharacteristic changes in your student such as appearance, dress, behavior, etc. Have you lost contact with them for more than one day?

Q: How can I approach my student about hazing in the group he/she wants to join?
A: Start by asking your student—point blank—to explain the things they are doing to join the group. Ask for a copy of the new member education program or "pledge program." Ask what a typical week is like for them. NO secrets are shared during pledging, so your student should be able to share their program with you.

Q: Are students pledging fraternities and sororities required to live in fraternity houses or sorority suites?
A: Absolutely not. Your student signed a contract to reside on campus, and that is their only home during the school year. Fraternities and sororities may not require new members to reside in the chapter house or on the chapter floor.

Q: My student mentioned participating in "Hell Week." What is this?
A: "Hell Week" is a common hazing practice consisting of a week of particularly high-risk activities leading up to initiation in a fraternity or sorority. Hell Weeks are strictly prohibited by Miami University and ALL national fraternity and sorority organizations recognized by Miami.