Hazing

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts prohibits hazing.A copy of the Massachusetts Law regarding hazing can be found at http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/registrar/handbook/hazingstatute.pdf.The definition of hazing and its punishments imposed by the Commonwealth are as follows:

The term “hazing” 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.

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.

Notwithstanding any other provisions of this section to the contrary, consent shall not be available as a defense to any prosecution under this action.

Whoever knows that another person is the victim of hazing as defined above and is at the scene of such a 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.

Each institution of secondary education and each public and private institution of post secondary education shall issue to every student group, student team or student organization which is part of such institution or is recognized by the 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 information; provided, however, that an institution’s compliance with this requirement by providing this information 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 information 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 acknowledgment stating that such group, team, or organization has received a copy of this information, that each of its members, plebes, pledges, or applicants has received a copy of this information, and that such group, team, or organization understands and agrees to comply with the provisions of this document. Each institution of secondary education and each public or private institution of post secondary education shall, at least annually, before or at the start of enrollment, deliver to each person who enrolls as full time student in such institution a copy of this information.

No individual shall perform an act that is likely to cause physical, psychological, or social harm to any person within the university community. HSPH students who organize or commit a crime of hazing are subject to HSPH disciplinary action as well as to sanctions imposed by the Commonwealth.