Consequences of Hazing

Photo above: Stephen and Rae Ann Gruver hold a photo of their son Max while sitting in his old room in Roswell, Georgia. Max Gruver died one month after leaving for LSU in 2017. Police say his death was the result of hazing by his fraternity brothers (PHOTO: Chris Aluka Berry, The Advocate)

Legal and Disciplinary

Each school or organization has different policies regarding hazing. In addition, state and local laws vary, too. However, the consequences for hazing can be severe and can include:

  • Expulsion from school.
  • Suspension for a definite or indefinite period of time.
  • Referral to outside law enforcement agencies.
  • Public prosecution and even jail time.
  • Civil lawsuits.
  • Expulsion from organizations.

Impact on person being hazed

Death is the consequence that is most often reported by the media. Although death is the worst possible outcome, hazing can lead to less severe, but still life-altering consequences.

One study has shown that 71% of those who are hazed suffer from negative consequences including:

  • Physical, emotional, and/or mental instability,
  • Sleep deprivation,
  • Loss of sense of control and empowerment,
  • A decline in grades and coursework.
  • Relationships with friends, significant others and family suffer.
  • Post-traumatic stress syndrome.
  • Loss of respect for and interest in being part of the organization.
  • Erosion of trust within the group members.
  • Illness or hospitalization with additional effects on family and friends.

Impact on those who haze

In addition to being morally wrong, taking part or leading hazing creates problems. These include:

  • Triggering the memory of personal trauma.
  • Suspension, expulsion and/or legal action, which may include misdemeanor or felony charges and/or jail time.
  • Declining grades and coursework.
  • Deterioration of relationships with friends, significant others and family.
  • Losing connection to alums through the organization.
  • Intense media scrutiny.
  • Damage to one’s personal reputation.
  • Warped sense of leadership.
  • Feelings of shame and guilt.

Impact on Organizations

Hazing not only hurts individuals; it hurts entire organizations. Organizations can be held accountable to governing bodies, whether they are athletic associations or conferences, universities, accrediting bodies, or national organizations. Fraternities or sororities could be suspended or even banned; sports teams could forfeit a season, clubs could be shut down entirely.

In addition, organizations may experience:

  • The loss of reputation within the campus community as well as locally and nationally.
  • The loss of recognition for the organization, team or club and/or other privileges revoked.
  • Civil damages.
  • The organization’s officers may be held responsible.
  • A gradual erosion of the true meaning and values of the organization.