Hazing – It's Not Just a Greek Thing

What is Hazing?

According to Illinois law, a person commits hazing by knowingly requiring another person in any educational institution to perform an act for the purpose of joining any organization connected with that institution, if such act results in bodily harm to anyone.

The University of Illinois defines hazing as an act that endangers the mental or physical health or safety of any person OR that defaces, destroys, or removes public or private property, for the purpose of initiation into, admission into, affiliation with, or continued membership in, any group or organization. It is obviously a much broader definition than state law.

Penalties for Hazing

Under Illinois law, the penalty for hazing is up to 364 days incarceration and up to a $2,500.00 fine. Should hazing result in gross bodily harm or death, the penalty increases to 1 to 3 years imprisonment and up to a $25,000.00 fine.

In Illinois, hazing is not a commonly charged offense. For conduct resulting in bodily harm or death, charges relating to battery or homicide are much more likely to be brought. These can, of course, have much more serious consequences.

Hazing activities can result in dismissal from the University of Illinois. Criminal charges need not have been brought for the University to take action, as the disciplinary process is completely independent of the court system.

While organizations which sponsor or condone hazing may be held responsible, individuals who participate in hazing are not protected by such organizational responsibility, and can and will be treated as individual offenders. Being caught in the “pack mentality” does not excuse personal behavior when it comes to hazing.

Examples of Hazing

The U of I Interfraternity Council has set forth some examples of hazing. They include, but are certainly not limited to, the following:

  • alcohol use,
  • paddling,
  • excessive fatigue,
  • scavenger hunts,
  • road trips,
  • conspicuous apparel, and
  • humiliating activities.

Many of them are clearly not likely to result in bodily harm of any sort, but are simply not wholesome or uplifting standards of behavior.

What to do if I have been subjected to hazing?

No one deserves to be hazed. Think about it. Why would you want to be included in any group that behaves this way?

If you have been the victim of hazing, you should call the Office of the Dean of Students 217-333-0050 and report it.

If your hazing experience was fraternity or sorority related, Fraternity & Sorority Affairs should also be informed, 217-333-7062.

Finally you should report such activity to the police department for investigation.

  • Emergency: 911
  • Non-emergency: 217-333-8911

This is imperative if any physical trauma occurred as a result of hazing.

Informational Links


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