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 Framework to guide our public health approach to hazing prevention. (View the Hazing Framework fact sheet; CU NetID required.)
The University recognizes hazing as a serious public health issue. Therefore, hazing prevention requires a comprehensive approach that addresses individuals, groups, the institution, local community, national organizations, and the broader society. Effective prevention requires social-ecological strategies and an ongoing commitment to campus-wide coordination, support, and leadership by students, staff, faculty, and alumni.
Skorton Center staff members provide institutional leadership and support for the following hazing prevention initiatives.
Hazing prevention initiatives
Leadership initiatives & culture change strategies
Visible leadership statements: Clear leadership messages from senior university officials and student leaders provide a philosophical foundation for Cornell’s comprehensive approach to hazing prevention.
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.”
Greek Culture Change Coalition (GC3): This collaboration between the Skorton Center for Health Initiatives and Greek student leaders work to foster healthy chapter environments by identifying, developing and implementing environmental interventions within their communities to foster positive social interactions, healthy group bonding and support the physical and mental health of their chapter members.
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.
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, confidential 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]
Healthy group-building activities
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.
Ideas for healthy recruitment and group-building activities are described on the university's hazing website (hazing.cornell.edu) 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.
Clear reporting options
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: Anyone (students, staff, faculty, alumni, parents, community members, etc.) can make an online report of hazing or make a telephone report to a university staff member.
Consistent enforcement & firm consequences
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 when appropriate when investigating hazing reports and adjudicating sanctions. Consistent enforcement and firm consequences are important components in preventing future hazing incidents.
Support for victims
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.
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.
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.
Public reporting of violations and sanctions
Public disclosure of violations and corresponding sanctions are transparently displayed on Cornell’s hazing website, hazing.cornell.edu.
This allows anyone the ability to research the history of a group, team or organization to help make an informed decision about whether or not to join.
It also helps organizations engage in a cost-benefit analysis because they are able to see the consequences that have been levied to groups in the past for engaging in hazing behaviors, and if groups perceive that the likelihood of detection and the severity of the consequences outweigh the perceived benefits of engaging in hazing activities, they may be dissuaded from engaging in those hazing behaviors.
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.