Hazing encompasses a range of practices that pose serious risks to the physical safety and mental health and well-being of individuals joining or continuing their membership in various clubs, organizations, teams, and other groups.
The impact of hazing on individuals can be severe, long-lasting, and even fatal. It can result in negative consequences for those who haze, the groups they are involved in, and the wider institution. Hazing is an abuse of power and is antithetical to the values and learning mission of Cornell University.
Did you know?
Hazing is prohibited by the Cornell Campus Code of Conduct, the Sorority and Fraternity Rights and Responsibilities, and New York State Law.
Groups that haze may be subject to consequences imposed by their sponsoring departments.
More information about hazing and campus prevention efforts is available by visiting the university's hazing website, hazing.cornell.edu.
Our campus approach
Cornell uses a "Hazing Prevention Model" to guide our public health approach to hazing prevention. View the Hazing Prevention Model fact sheet (pdf).
This comprehensive approach addresses individuals, groups, the institutional level, the local community, national organizations and the broader society.
The priorities and initiatives listed below support our campus efforts, and include strategies, programs, policies, services and other initiatives designed to prevent, educate, and respond to the problem.
Skorton Center staff members provide institutional leadership and support for the university's hazing prevention initiatives.
Priorities and initiatives:
Leadership initiatives & culture change strategies
Visible leadership statements: Clear leadership messages from senior university officials, including President Martha Pollack, and student leaders provide a philosophical foundation for Cornell’s comprehensive approach to hazing prevention.
National Hazing Prevention Collaborative: Cornell University participated in the National Collaborative for Hazing Prevention and Research from 2013 – 2016 led by Dr. Elizabeth Allan at the University of Maine.
Campus Health Executive Committee: Senior administration provides oversight of health policy and strategies, including hazing-related initiatives.
Strategic Plan: The Cornell Strategic Plan includes the following goal in service of educational excellence: “Promote the health and well-being of students (undergraduate, graduate, and professional) as a foundation for academic and life success.”
Cornell University established its institutional policy on hazing in 2001, which is currently reflected in the Campus Code of Conduct – Article II. Violations.
In 2012, the new member process for Interfraternity Council fraternities and PanHellenic Council sororities was shortened from eight weeks to four weeks.
Skorton Center for Health Initiatives: Provides leadership related to bystander intervention, data collection, and social norms outreach strategies.
Media communication: Advertisements, posters, fact sheets, web pages promote healthy group bonding, positive social norms, reporting options for hazing along with educating the community about hazing and the availability of campus resources to address hazing concerns. Cornell University implemented the first known hazing prevention social norms campaign.
Intervene: A 20-minute video and corresponding interactive workshop teach students how to apply a key set of bystander intervention skills to real-life situations. A series of brief scenarios show college student bystanders actively intervening to reduce the risk of problems, including sexual assault, harassment, intimate partner violence, hazing, bias, emotional distress, and alcohol emergencies. A hazing scenario shows a roommate recognizing signs of hazing, talking with his roommate about it and making a confidential report to the University. [See Intervene]
Education and training: Staff members from the Skorton Center for Health Initiatives routinely provide training for key campus stakeholders including residential student staff, student athletes, students in the Greek community, health center staff, athletic coaches, etc.
Cornell’s Good Samaritan Protocol: Encourages students to call for help in alcohol or other drug emergencies. When students call for help on campus neither they nor the person in need of medical attention will get in trouble for underage drinking, drug possession or other disorderly conduct. [See goodsam.cornell.edu]
Ideas for healthy recruitment and group-building activities are described on the hazing.cornell.edu website including community service and philanthropy activities, service learning trips, mentoring opportunities, outdoor challenges, athletic competitions, history and values exercises, etc.
Cornell Outdoor Education (COE): Cornell University staff are trained to lead students through exercises at the University’s state-of-the-art challenge course or indoor climbing wall. COE also provides athletic equipment rentals to students.
Skorton Center staff provide educational trainings for student leaders involved in welcoming new members into their organizations. Trainings have been provided for new member educators of Greek chapters, leaders of professional fraternities, varsity athletes, etc.
Hazing at Cornell website: Cornell University created the first ever website dedicated to hazing, which provides a vehicle for education, submitting reports of hazing and public display of violations. [See hazing.cornell.edu].
Reporting Options: Cornell community members (students, staff, faculty, and alumni) can make an online report of hazing, and anyone (Cornell community members, plus parents, other family members, or community members) can make a telephone report to a university staff member.
The Office of the Judicial Administrator, the Cornell University Police Department, the Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life, Athletics and Physical Education and the Campus Activities Office strive for clear and consistent enforcement of campus policies and state and federal laws.
These departments collaborate as needed when appropriate when investigating hazing reports and adjudicating sanctions. Consistent enforcement and firm consequences are important components in preventing future hazing incidents.
Support for those who are hazed
Victim Advocacy Program: Advocates provide client centered services to students after an incident through support, connection to resources, information, academic considerations and provision of reporting options. [See Victim Advocacy]
Hazing at Cornell: This comprehensive website provides information about helping a friend, the availability of medical and counseling services, as well as other support and reporting options. [See hazing.cornell.edu].
Cornell Health: Staff members provide a collaborative approach to health care. Medical and counseling professionals work together to provide care for students who have experienced hazing.
Transparency regarding violations
Public disclosure of violations and corresponding sanctions are transparently displayed on Cornell’s hazing website, hazing.cornell.edu. This allows anyone the ability to learn about the history of a group, team or organization to help make an informed decision about whether or not to join.
Between 2013 and 2016, Cornell joined with colleagues and universities from around the country to address the problem of hazing by participating in the National Hazing Prevention Consortium led by StopHazing.