25 Interesting Facts About Hazing

All hazing statistics are an underestimate of the actual amount of hazings that occur. This is due to the fact that most students do not even recognize hazing when they are involved, and furthermore, there is a strong code of silence that inhibits students from reporting a hazing. Perhaps the most startling statistic is that there are no, as in 0, state or federal agencies that collect statistics on hazing, nor is there a central place (like the CDC) to report hazings. (Source is reported by number at end of statement, which corresponds to footnote.)


High School Hazing

  • 1.5 million high school students are hazed each year.1
  • 91% of all H.S. students belong to at least one group, and half of them, 48% report being subjected to hazing activities.1
  • 43% were subjected to humiliating activities and 30% performed potentially illegal acts as part of their initiation.1
  • Both male and female students report high levels of hazing.1
  • Every kind of high school group was involved in hazing including 24% of the students involved in church groups.1
  • 10% of all college students admit to being hazed in high school.2
  • 79% of the NCAA Athletes report being hazed initially in high school.1
  • 25% were first hazed before the age of 13.1
  • 92% of the high school students will not report a hazing, and of these respondents, 59% know of hazing activities and 21% admit to being involved in hazing.1
  • 48% of the students acknowledge participating in activities which are defined as hazing, 29% did potentially illegal things to join a group, however only 14% admit to being hazed. This underscored the "disconnect" between how adults define hazing vs. how students define it.1

College Hazing

  • More than 250,000 students experienced some sort of hazing to join a college athletic team.1
  • 5% of all college students admit to being hazed.2
  • 40% admit to knowing about hazing activities.2
  • 40% report that a coach or club advisor was aware of the hazing.2
  • 22% report that the coach or advisor was involved in the hazing.2
  • 50% of the female NCAA Division I athletes reported being hazed.3
  • More than 20% of female NCAA athletes were subjected to alcohol-related hazing; however even a higher percentage admitted to "mental hazing" which ranged from singing to being kidnapped.3
  • 10% of the female NCAA athletes were physically hazed including being branded, tattooed, beaten thrown in water of having their head forcibly shaved.3
  • 6-9% of the female NCAA athletes were subjected to sexually related hazing including harassment, actual assault or being expected to simulate sex activities.3

Hazing Trends

  • 60% agree that it is important to tolerate psychological stress and 32% believe it is important to tolerate physical pain.4
  • 67% agree that a significant part of initiation is humiliation.4
  • 46% believe that the most important thing is to keep the code of silence.4
  • 29% of Greek leaders are concerned with the overuse of alcohol during pledge activities.4
  • 36% say they would not report a hazing primarily because "there's no one to tell" and 27% feel that "adults won't handle it right."1
  • Students are more likely to be hazed if they knew an adult who was hazed.1

KEY

  1. Alfred University Study, Dr. Norm Pollard, Dr. Elizabeth Allen, et. al, 1999

  2. National Study of Student Hazing (prelim), Dr. Elizabeth Allen and Dr. Mary Madden 2006
  3. Dissertation, Dr. Colleen McGlone, 2005
  4. Inside Hazing, Dr. Susan Lipkins, 2006

Surveys Conducted by Dr. Susan Lipkins

Survey: Fraternity/Sorority Members

  • 65% of respondents agree that the primary goal of an initiation is to bond.
  • 57% of respondents agree that it is important to tolerate psychological stress.
  • 31% of respondents agree that a significant element in an initiation rite is humiliation.
  • 29% of respondents agree that extreme consumption is often part of an initiation.
  • 29% of respondents agree that it is important to tolerate physical pain.
  • 29% of respondents agree that they are concerned with the overuse of alcohol during pledge activities.
  • 25% of respondents agree that initiation usually involves the use of paddles.

Rarely do the leaders acknowledge that these rituals are in fact, hazing. However, in this study, a third of the Greek leaders agree that humiliation is a significant element in initiation, and almost as many, agree that extreme consumption and the use of paddles are also part of initiation. Unfortunately, Greek leaders may still deny the connection between these kinds of initiation activities and hazing.


Survey: Coaches

  • 98% of respondents agree that the coach is often a father figure to the athlete.
  • 98% of respondents agree that coaches have a lot of power.
  • Coaches acknowledge that they act as father/mother figures to their teams, and that they have a lot of power. If coaches firmly communicate their no-nonsense position on hazing in any form, I believe that hazing can and will be reduced.
  • 50% of respondents agree that there have been hazings in my community.
  • 25% of respondents were involved in hazing when they were younger.

One half of these coaches acknowledge that hazing occurs in their community and a quarter of the coaches admit that they were involved in hazing when they were younger. I believe that it is often difficult for coaches and others, to see hazing as wrong since they themselves lived through it, and perhaps valued it. Some coaches may feel hypocritical to outlaw something that they consider important; and therefore they may view anti-hazing policies as another politically correct requirement. Under such conditions the coaches say "no hazing" but their non-verbal communication is "it's ok to haze." This mixed message is rarely addressed, yet carries much significance.


Survey: High School Students

  • 95% of respondents believe that most people do not report hazing incidents.
  • 92% of respondents believe that most kids will not report a hazing.
  • 59% of respondents know about hazing activities.
  • 21% of respondents state they have been involved in hazing activities.

These statistics are quite significant because nearly sixty percent of these high school students are admitting that they know about hazing activities and about one fifth have been involved in hazing. Furthermore more than ninety percent believe that most kids will not report a hazing. This illustrates how difficult it is to break the code of silence.


Survey: General Public

  • 88% of respondents believe increased alcohol consumption has led to more dangerous hazings.
  • 81% of respondents believe hazing has become more dangerous in the last 10 years.
  • 80% of respondents believe hazing has become more sexualized in the last 10 years.

I wholeheartedly agree with the consensus drawn by eighty percent of this group, who believe that alcohol has led to more dangerous hazings, and that hazing has become more dangerous and more sexualized in the last 10 years!


Survey: Anonymous Online

  • 72% of respondents agree that it is important to tolerate psychological stress.
  • 67% of respondents agree that a significant part of initiation is humiliation.
  • 62% of respondents agree it is impossible to avoid initiation.
  • 54% of respondents agree that extreme consumption is important in initiation rites.

More than two thirds of the group admits that humiliation is a significant element in initiations, which is why many hazing experts believe that most initiations are in fact, hazings. The elements of an initiation that covertly (or overtly) require participation in the extreme consumption of something, as well as the expectation that humiliation is necessary to be a member, are the ingredients of hazing!

  • 49% of respondents agree that the most important thing is to keep the code of silence.
  • 36% of respondents agree that they would not tell anyone if a hazing occurs.

Throughout these surveys it is clear that many people adhere to the belief that it is important to maintain the code of silence and not to report hazing. Individuals believe that being a dedicated member means maintaining the secrets of the group, regardless of what the group may be doing. There seems to be little regard for the possible consequences of their actions. Perhaps this is the message that we have been sending; our individual responsibility is suspended as long as we protect the group.

  • 90% of respondents agree that newcomers may be afraid to disagree.
  • 58% of respondents agree it is difficult to predict when things might get out of control.
  • 50% of respondents agree that some disturbing things have happened during initiation.

Almost everyone agreed that newcomers are afraid to disagree with a group, which is one reason that they seem to "go with the flow" even if it means that he/she will be a victim of a hazing. Never do the perpetrators read a disclaimer, warning victims that the experiences they are about to have may be dangerous to their physical or mental health. This is important because some college sutdents and administrators have claimed that the victims "agreed" to participate in the initiation and therefore the activities are not forced. This view is quite unrealistic, and clearly undermines the spirit of anti-hazing policies and laws.


Survey: Combined Results

Some of the questions on the various surveys were the same and therefore a statistical analysis was done to determine the combined results. The number of actual responses are reported in the parenthesis. Here are the findings.

  • 94% of respondents (128) agree that Coaches have a lot of power.
  • 70% of respondents (256) agree that the Coach can be a father figure to the athletes.
  • 66% of respondents (51) agree that the primary goal of a coach is to win.

More than ninety percent agree that coaches have a lot of power, seventy percent see the coach as a father figure to athletes and sixty six percent believe that the primary goal of a coach is to win. These statistics illustrate my point, that coaches have the power to change the culture of the team. Coaches can choose sportsmanship and character development in addition to winning, as the goals to be achieved.

  •  60% of respondents (199) agree that it is important to tolerate psychological stress.
  • 46% of respondents (178) agree that the most important thing is to keep the code of silcence.
  • 36% of respondents (152) agree that the extreme consumption of something is an important aspect of initiation.
  • 19% of respondents (177) agree that some disturbing things happened during initiation.

Sixty percent of the respondents agree that tolerating psychological stress is a goal of initiations. This supports the concept that hazing is a "head game." Almost half believe that it is important to keep the code of silence, which means "don't report a hazing." This strong guiding light is one of the biggest dilemmas in terms of hazing prevention and intervention. If we teach our childen "not to tell" then the culture of hazing will continue to spread, becoming more dangerous each year.

More than one third confirmed my observation, that extreme consumption is part of initiation. Unfortunately, many of the deaths from hazing, are due to extreme consumption, of alcohol and water!

Almost twenty percent admit that disturbing things happen during initiations, and I am sure that the actual statistic is much higher. However, when combined with the statistic that forty-six percent believe it is important not to tell, we can see that most disturbing things that occur during initiations will never be discovered, and therefore will never end, despite the havoc that such things might bring to the victims, bystanders and even to the perpetrators!