LSU believes that fraternity and sorority membership in college can help students. We also strive to be proactive in our efforts to educate our community on the consequences of risky behaviors.
LSU Greek Life knows that parents, friends and families of Greek students are vital members of the LSU Greek community. Because of this, we would like to provide you with the following information on hazing/mistreatment.
LSU Greek Life provides annual training to all members of the LSU Greek community on the topics of hazing, alcohol, drug abuse, and sexual misconduct. Each member of the Greek community signs and acknowledges that they are aware of the LSU Hazing Policy (Policy Statement 108) and that they will not engage in this behavior.
Each year, thousands of young men and women join Greek organizations. The majority of those organizations provide wonderful, positive experiences for their members. However, some engage in negative behaviors known as “hazing” – acts of humiliation or demeaning tasks meant to prove an individual’s commitment and worthiness to join the fraternity or sorority. Hazing or mistreatment ranges in severity from silly pranks to violent and dangerous physical acts. In extreme cases, hazing activities have resulted in student deaths. Whatever the nature or severity, it is wrong and in the state of Louisiana, it is illegal.
Hazing and why it still exists
Hazing/mistreatment has been around for more than a century. It’s constantly evolving and changing. Some students enjoy being hazed/mistreated and some enjoy humiliating others. Some approve of it, but some say nothing. Although many students (and some of their parents) believe that hazing/mistreatment builds respect and discipline, research has shown that it more often results in apathy, alienation, and mistrust. Hazing/mistreatment is however, ingrained in different degrees in college cultures, and because it is done secretly, it can be a challenging problem to address. Hazing/mistreatment is inconsistent with the values of the University, and the stated values and purposes of Greek organizations.
It is our hope that the fraternities and sororities at LSU do not haze/mistreat their new members. But in the event that you suspect hazing or learn about it, it’s important that you take action to prevent and confront a potentially dangerous or uncomfortable situation. It is important that you know that LSU is committed to preventing it, addressing it, educating about it, and eradicating it.
Signs to look and listen for in Greek organizations
- Sleep deprivation
- Excessive absence from class
- Declining academic performance
- Not showered/clean
- Wearing unusual or similar/identical clothing with members of the new member class
- Pulling away emotionally and physically from friends and family
- Defensive responses about fraternity/sorority membership when explaining unusual events or activities
- Lengthy weekend commitments
- Loss of privileges that may sound unnatural, like having the cell phone taken away for a few days, eating, sleeping
- Forced activities for new recruits to ‘prove’ their worth to join
- Forced or required consumption of alcohol
- Requirement to eat spicy foods, other substances
- Requirement to endure hardships such as staying awake, menial tasks, physical labor, running while blindfolded, etc.
- Humiliation of new or potential members
- Isolation of new or potential members
- Beatings, paddling, or other physical acts against new or potential members
- Forced sexual acts
- Requirements for new or potential members to do things established members are not required to do
- Illegal activities such as requirement to steal local items as part of a scavenger hunt
It is important to confront this behavior
Because activities tend to evolve and worsen, each year and what might have begun as a silly tradition a few years ago can grow into a truly dangerous event resulting in injury today. Simply put, hazing potential for harm - both physical and psychological - is tremendous. There are other positive ways for organizations to build loyalty and a sense of belonging among their members. Your courage and action today can help us promote strong campus organizations and positive experiences for every student.
What to do if you are a Greek student experiencing hazing
The LSU Greek Life office is here to support and advocate for the safe and positive experience of all members. Unfortunately, there is no one size fits all approach for students experiencing hazing. If you are a student experiencing hazing, we encourage you to contact our office directly. An advisor will assist you with steps to take to address the behavior and support your experience. It’s important to recognize what hazing behavior is and understand that it is not OK. In some cases, you may want to leave the organization quietly, in other cases you may want to report your experience. LSU Greek Life is committed to helping you through this.
What to do if you are a parent, friend, family member, faculty or staff of a Greek student
- You might start a conversation by asking your student about his/her experience, i.e., explain the things the group is requiring him/her to do to become a member. If they do not or simply won’t answer your questions about new member activities, that should be a red flag.
- Ask for the chapter advisor’s contact information to obtain answers. If they are unable to provide that information, our office can also provide that information.
- New member activities should include meetings to learn about the organization’s history, the activities of the chapter on campus, community service, going to campus events together, and brotherhood events like camping, hiking, social events. They should not include long hours of memorizing members’ names, birthdates, personal servitude, activities that require physical endurance of any kind, drinking games, sexual exploits, sleep deprivation, mandatory class skipping, withholding of privileges like using the front door, or certain rooms being off limits, not walking on grass, etc. Any of these activities should trigger an alarm and you should first discuss the issue with your student, reach out for assistance to the chapter advisor and/or Greek Life.