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Hazing Prevention & Reporting
Being at BU is about trying new things and making friends from across the globe. We want you to join groups, create networks, and enjoy common experiences.
However, no group or fellow student should ever put you at risk, physically or emotionally, as a condition for participation in a group or opportunity. Hazing isn’t just against the BU Code of Student Responsibilities—it’s against Massachusetts law.
It might be hazing if…
If you feel uncomfortable, or are being forced to do something you don’t want to do in order to gain or maintain membership in a group, you may be being hazed.
Here are some examples of activities that may constitute hazing. If a group is making you:
- Stay up for days straight
- Spend long hours exposed to the elements
- Consume an excessive amount of alcohol
- Daring you to do something dangerous
- Isolating you from others
- Harassing you or asking you to harass someone
If it’s happening to you, if you’re ordered to do it to someone else, or if you see it happening to friends or classmates, please report it. If the hazing or situation is life threatening or violent, call the Boston University Police immediately at 617-353-2121. For non-emergencies, you can use the confidential online hazing report form. Your report can be anonymous.
Students accused of hazing will go through the University’s Judicial Process. Organizations accused of hazing may have their University recognition withdrawn.
If you have more questions, please contact the Dean of Students Office (617-353-4126).
BU’s hazing policy will be in accordance with the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts at all times. Moreover, the University’s standards of personal conduct substantially exceed the minimum expectations of civil law and custom. Student organizations and individual students found in violation of Massachusetts hazing laws will be subject to University disciplinary action.
In accordance with Chapter 536, Section 19, the Student Activities Office has developed the following procedures:
- At the time of registration, the president of each student group, team, or organization shall receive a copy of the law and will be required to sign a statement acknowledging that he or she has received such copy of the law, that he or she shall distribute a copy of this law to every member, plebe, pledge, or applicant for membership of the organization, and that the group, team, or organization understands and agrees to comply with the provisions of this law.
- This statement will be kept in the group, club, or organization’s permanent file in the Student Activities Office.
- The Student Activities Office will make available to each group, team, or organization as many copies of the law as necessary both when the group, team, or organization registers for the year and throughout the year as necessary to ensure that the organization can comply with its responsibilities as outlined in Section 19 of the law.
If you have any questions concerning this law or the University policies pertaining to the law, please contact a Student Activities Office Coordinator of Programs at 617-353-3635.
General Laws of Massachusetts
Chapter 269: Section 17. Hazing; organizing or participating; hazing defined.
Section 17. Whoever is a principal organizer or participant in the crime of hazing, as defined herein, shall be punished by a fine of not more than three thousand dollars or by imprisonment in a house of correction for not more than one year, or both such fine and imprisonment.
The term “hazing” as used in this section and in Sections 18 and 19, shall mean any conduct or method of initiation into any student organization, whether on public or private property, which willfully or recklessly endangers the physical or mental health of any student or other person. Such conduct shall include whipping, beating, branding, forced calisthenics, exposure to the weather, forced consumption of any food, liquor, beverage, drug, or other substance, or any other brutal treatment or forced physical activity which is likely to adversely affect the physical health or safety of any such student or other person, or which subjects such student or other person to extreme mental stress, including extended deprivation of sleep or rest or extended isolation.
Notwithstanding any other provisions of this section to the contrary, consent shall not be available as a defense to any prosecution under this action. (Amended by 1987, 665.)
Chapter 269: Section 18. Failure to report hazing.
Section 18. Whoever knows that another person is the victim of hazing as defined in Section 17 and is at the scene of such crime shall, to the extent that such person can do so without danger or peril to himself or others, report such crime to an appropriate law enforcement official as soon as reasonably practicable. Whoever fails to report such crime shall be punished by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars. (Amended by 1987, 665.)
Chapter 269: Section 19. Copy of Secs. 17–19; issuance to students and student groups, teams, and organizations; report.
Section 19. Each institution of secondary education and each public and private institution of postsecondary education shall issue to every student group, student team, or student organization which is part of such institution or permitted by the institution to use its name or facilities or is known by the institution to exist as an unaffiliated student group, student team, or student organization, a copy of this section and Sections 17 and 18; provided, however, that an institution’s compliance with this section’s requirements that an institution issue copies of this section and Sections 17 and 18 to unaffiliated student groups, teams, or organizations shall not constitute evidence of the institution’s recognition or endorsement of said unaffiliated student groups, teams, or organizations.
Each such group, team, or organization shall distribute a copy of this section and Sections 17 and 18 to each of its members, plebes, pledges, or applicants for membership. It shall be the duty of each such group, team or organization, acting through its designated officer, to deliver annually to the institution, an attested acknowledgement stating that such group, team, or organization has received a copy of this section and said Sections 17 and 18, that each of its members, plebes, pledges, or applicants has received a copy of Sections 17 and 18, and that such group, team, or organization understands and agrees to comply with the provisions of this section and Sections 17 and 18.
Each institution of secondary education and each public or private institution of postsecondary education shall, at least annually, before or at the start of enrollment, deliver to each person who enrolls as a full-time student in such institution a copy of this section and Sections 17 and 18.
Each institution of secondary education and each public or private institution of postsecondary education shall file, at least annually, a report with the regents of higher education and in the case of secondary institutions, the board of education, certifying that such institution has complied with its responsibility to inform student groups, teams, or organizations and to notify each full-time student enrolled by it of the provisions of this section and Sections 17 and 18 and also certifying that said institution has adopted a disciplinary policy with regard to the organizers and participants of hazing, and that such policy has been set forth with appropriate emphasis in the student handbook or similar means of communicating the institution’s policies to its students. The board of regents and, in the case of secondary institutions, the board of education, shall promulgate regulations governing the content and frequency of such reports, and shall forthwith report to the attorney general any such institution which fails to make such report. (Amended by 1987, 665.)