Hazing Education and Resources

Bryn Mawr College is committed to providing a welcoming, inclusive and respectful environment for all community members. We value the community and relationships that traditions help to build among current students and the connections to past and future generations they create. Because we value relationships that are founded in respect, it is incumbent upon each generation of students to evaluate not only traditions but all student-run activities, including those designed to welcome new members to clubs, teams, and dorms, to eliminate any elements that may be construed as hazing. 

Bryn Mawr College Hazing Policy

Recognizing Hazing 

It may be believed that hazing cannot happen without sororities or fraternities. It may be believed that hazing cannot occur if the participant consented. It may be believed that there cannot be hazing if alcohol is not involved. It may be believed that there cannot be hazing because the activity builds community. These are common excuses for hazing and are often cited to justify hazing practices. The ability to tie hazing back to what is believed to be years of tradition has allowed it to continue. The most frequently reported hazing behaviors include tasks that involve alcohol or drug use, singing or performing in a public area outside of an organized event, and being woken up in the middle of the night. 

Hazing includes not only actions or situations which cause pain, injury, physical stress, fatigue or discomfort; it includes those that may produce embarrassment, ridicule, harassment, anxiety, mental or emotional discomfort, or be threatening or frightening. Activities that constitute hazing can be hard to recognize, especially by those who participate in those activities themselves. If you are planning an activity or event for your peers, ask yourself the following questions. If you answer “yes” to any of them, your event may involve hazing.

  • Would you hesitate to describe this activity, or to show photos or videos of it, to your parents, dean, professor, or employer?

  • Would you be uncomfortable if the details of the activity were made public or appeared on the local news or social media?

  • Does the activity involve deception? 

  • Does the activity involve nudity or clothing that is conspicuous or in poor taste? 

  • Is the activity physically uncomfortable? Does it involve physical exertion, noise, heat or cold? 

  • Will the activity be stressful? Will it cause embarrassment or anxiety? 

  • Are there any safety issues or risk of injury? 

  • Does the schedule interfere with academic work, sleep, or self-care? 

  • Do the activities run counter to any law or College policy?   

  • What if someone doesn’t want to participate? In a community of respect like Bryn Mawr, it’s assumed that one would respect and listen to any student who opts out of or speaks out against activities that others consider the norm. Doing anything else, such as ostracizing someone for failing to participate, might in itself constitute hazing. 

  • If no one opts out or objects to an activity, is that evidence that it’s not hazing? Remember that hazing is by nature socially coercive. Just because someone consents to participate in an activity and has the choice of opting in or out of it does not mean that the activity is not hazing. Peer pressure and the desire to belong may undermine a person’s ability to provide true consent. 

Reporting Hazing Concerns

If you witnessed or heard others discussing an activity which you find concerning or you or someone you know participated in or know of an activity that might be hazing you have options for reporting. 

Confidential Resources can listen to you and provide options and resources intended to counsel you on your next steps. They need your express permission to reveal your identity. Confidential resources on campus include the Campus Chaplain, and Medical and Counseling Services staff. 

Non-Confidential Resources can provide you with advice on your next steps but they are compelled to follow up on the information that you have provided. Non-confidential resources include staff in Student Engagement and New Student Programs, Residential Life, the Pensby Center, Career and Civic Engagement Center, Dean's Office, Campus Safety, Athletics and more. Most staff on campus are considered non-confidential resources. 

Formal Complaint: Any member of the community can file a formal complaint by completing the Student Engagement Notification Form. A formal complaint is not confidential and the information provided will be investigated. Reports should be as detailed as possible.