All members of the University of Lynchburg community and all student organizations are responsible for encouraging an atmosphere of learning, social responsibility, and respect for human dignity. Hazing is unproductive and hazardous behavior that is incongruous with this responsibility and has no place in the University of Lynchburg community, either on or off campus. Hazing, as defined in this statement, is prohibited by the Commonwealth of Virginia and by the University of Lynchburg. An individual student or organization found to be in violation of this policy is subject to on-campus disciplinary action and to possible criminal prosecution and/or civil action. For the purposes of this policy, “organization” means any association, athletic team, club, fraternity, musical group, society, sorority, or other similar group whose members primarily are University of Lynchburg students.
The Statement Prohibiting Hazing is not intended to prohibit customary athletic events, contests, or competitions that are sponsored by the University of Lynchburg or the organized and supervised practices associated with such events. Similarly, this policy is not intended to prohibit any activity or conduct that furthers the goals of a legitimate educational curriculum or extracurricular program, as approved by the University of Lynchburg.
Section 18.2-56 of the Code of Virginia provides as follows:
- It shall be unlawful to haze so as to cause bodily injury, any student at any school, or institution of higher education.
- Any person found guilty thereof shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
- Any person receiving bodily injury by hazing shall have a right to sue, civilly, the person or persons guilty thereof, whether adults or infants.
- The president or other presiding official of any school or institution of higher education receiving appropriations from the state treasury shall, upon satisfactory proof of the guilt of any student hazing another student, sanction and discipline such student in accordance with the institution’s policies and procedures. The institution’s policies and procedures shall provide for expulsions or other appropriate discipline based on the facts and circumstances of each case and shall be consistent with the model policies established by the Department of Education or the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, as applicable. The president or other presiding official of any school or institution of higher education receiving appropriations from the state treasury shall report hazing which causes bodily injury to the attorney for the Commonwealth of the county or city in which such school or institution of higher education is, who shall take such action as he deems appropriate.
- For the purposes of this section, “hazing” means to recklessly or intentionally endanger the health or safety of a student or students or to inflict bodily injury on a student or students in connection with or for the purpose of initiation, admission into or affiliation with or as a condition for continued membership in a club, organization, association, fraternity, sorority, or student body regardless of whether the student or students so endangered or injured participated voluntarily in the relevant activity.
In addition to the definition of hazing provided in the Code of Virginia, the University of Lynchburg further defines hazing as any action taken or situation created intentionally, whether on or off campus, to produce mental or physical discomfort, embarrassment, harassment, or ridicule for a student related to prospective or continued membership in an organization. An organization may not knowingly permit, authorize, or condone hazing. Hazing includes, but is not limited to, the direct or implied forcing, compelling, requiring, encouraging, or expecting of any individual to participate in any of the actions or activities listed as physical hazing or psychological hazing or in any conduct inconsistent with the regulations and policies of the University of Lynchburg. Hazing also includes soliciting, directing, aiding, or otherwise participating in, either actively or passively, an incident of hazing.
An individual cannot consent to being hazed, and a victim’s voluntary or willful participation in hazing activities will not be considered as a defense against a violation of this hazing policy committed by an individual or an organization.
Examples of physical hazing include:
- Paddling in any form;
- Physical shocks;
- All forms of physical activity that are used to harass, punish, create excessive fatigue, or harm an individual or are not part of an organized athletic context and not specifically directed toward constructive work;
- Road trips or excursions;
- Binding or restricting an individual in any way that would prohibit them from moving on their own;
- Spraying, painting, or pelting with any substance;
- Burying in any substance;
- Requiring or compelling exposure to uncomfortable elements;
- Forcing consumption of alcohol or any other substance, legal or illegal;
- Depriving students of sufficient sleep (six consecutive hours per day is normally considered to be a minimum);
- Scavenger hunts, treasure hunts, quests, or other such activities;
- Requiring or suggesting that an individual obtain or possess items or complete tasks in an unlawful manner (i.e., for a scavenger hunt);
- Burning, branding, or tattooing any part of the body; and
- Any other activity, whether voluntary or involuntary, that may cause physical injury or endanger the life of the individual being hazed.
Examples of psychological hazing include:
- Any act that is likely to:
- Compromise an individual’s dignity;
- Cause an individual embarrassment or shame;
- Cause an individual to be the object of malicious amusement or ridicule; or
- Cause an individual emotional distress;
- Psychological shocks;
- Interrogating an individual in an intimidating or threatening manner;
- Nudity with the intent to cause embarrassment;
- Verbal abuse;
- Requiring or compelling the wearing in public of apparel that is conspicuous and/or indecent;
- Late work sessions that interfere with academic endeavors;
- Misleading prospective members in an effort to convince them that they will not become members unless they complete tasks, follow instructions, or act in a certain way;
- Misleading prospective members in an effort to convince them that they will be hurt during induction or initiation;
- Carrying any items (shields, paddles, bricks, hammers, etc.) that serve no constructive purpose or that are designed to punish or embarrass the carrier; and
- Blindfolding and parading individuals in public areas, blindfolding and transporting in a motor vehicle, or privately conducting blindfolding activities that serve no constructive purpose.
Any suspected incident of hazing should be reported promptly to Campus Safety and Security, the Office of the Dean of Students, or the Office of Student Activities. The initial report of a suspected violation may be reported in person, by phone, or by electronic communication, and may be made anonymously.
Campus Safety and Security
First floor, Hall Campus Center
Office of Student Engagement and Leadership Development
118 Drysdale Student Center
Office of the Dean of Students
114 Hundley Hall
Campus Conduct Hotline
(a confidential, independent, call-in service)
Hazing allegedly committed on or off campus by an individual student is addressed in accordance with student disciplinary procedures detailed in the Honor and Student Conduct Codes and Regulations. Individuals students found to be in violation of this policy may face sanctions from warning to expulsion (see Sanctions).
Hazing allegedly committed on or off campus by an organization is addressed in accordance with disciplinary procedures implemented by the Office of Student Activities. An organization of the University of Lynchburg found to be in violation of this policy may face sanctions ranging from a warning to loss of status as a recognized student organization. Campus privileges may be revoked, charters rescinded, and/or disciplinary sanctions imposed on individual officers or members.
Retaliation by a student or an organization against any individual who reports a suspected incident of hazing or participates in an investigation or proceeding related to hazing is prohibited.