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Hazing Policy

Swarthmore College prohibits any form of hazing, whether the activities occur on or off property owned or operated by the College. Additionally, the College supports and enforces the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Timothy J. Piazza Anti-hazing Law, Act 80 of 2018. Failure to notify the College of an incident of hazing, may be a violation of this policy.  

Hazing includes, but is not limited to, any behavior and/or acts of servitude that is designed or intended to humiliate, degrade, embarrass, harass, or ridicule an individual, or that which a reasonable person would deem harmful or potentially harmful to an individual’s physical, emotional, or psychological well being, as an actual or perceived condition of new or continued affiliation with any organization, and/or team. Hazing also includes knowingly or recklessly engaging in such behavior and/or acts.   

Engagement in any of these behaviors, regardless of the intent to cause harm or the willingness of an individual to participate in such activity, for the purpose of initiation, admission, or continued affiliation and/or membership, is a violation of this policy.

Examples of such behavior include but are not limited to:
  • Brutality of a physical nature
  • Exposure to environmental elements, without appropriate protections
  • Assigning demerits and/or deprivation of privileges granted to other members
  • Whipping, Beating, Paddling or other forms of assault
  • Forced/coerced consumption of any food or drink
  • Asking members to wear embarrassing or humiliating attire
  • Branding, burning, or other forms of physical mutilation
  • Forced/coerced consumption of alcohol or liquor 
  • Activities with degrading, crude, or humiliating acts
  • Acts of servitude: (ex. carrying books, errands, cooking, cleaning, etc.)
  • Forced/coerced consumption of drugs or other substance abuse
  • Expecting members to deprive themselves of a normal level of cleanliness
  • Forced calisthenics or exercise
  • Name calling
  • Verbal abuse
  • Deception
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Sexual simulations
  • Abductions/kidnaps
  • Public nudity
  • Threats or implied threats
  • Expecting illegal activity
  • Bondage
  • Social isolation
  • Expecting specific items to always be in one’s possession
  • Lineups or other forms of drills
  • Tests on meaningless information
  • Assigning members demeaning terms or labels, while requiring other members to be identified with titles
  • Water intoxication


To report an incident of hazing please click here.
Students are strongly urged to read the entire criminal statute in order to have a full understanding of the legal standards, penalties and the terms of the limited safe harbor provision allowed by the State.
§2801 Definitions (selected definitions)
  • Minor is defined as an individual younger than 18 years of age.
  • Organization is defined as any of the following:  

    • A fraternity, sorority, association, corporation, order, society, corps, club or service, social or similar groups, whose members are primarily minors, students or alumni of the organization, an institution or secondary school.

    • A national or international organization with which a fraternity or sorority or other organization as enumerated under paragraph (1) is affiliated.

§2802 Hazing 
(a) A person commits the offense of hazing if the person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly for the purpose of initiating, admitting, or affiliating a minor or student into or with an organization, or for the purpose of continuing or enhancing a minor or student’s membership or status in an organization, causes, coerces or forces anyone to do any of the following:
(1) Violate Federal or State criminal law.
(2) Consume any food, liquid, alcoholic liquid, drug or other substance which subjects the minor or student to a risk of emotional or physical harm.
(3) Endure brutality of a physical nature including whipping, beating, branding, calisthenics, or exposure to the elements.
(4) Endure brutality of a mental nature including activity adversely affecting the mental health or dignity of the individual, sleep deprivation, exclusion from social contact or conduct that could result in extreme embarrassment.
(5) Endure brutality of a sexual nature.
(6) Endure any other activity that creates a reasonable likelihood of bodily injury.
(b) Grading
(1) Except as provided under paragraph (2), hazing is a summary offense.
(2) Hazing shall be a misdemeanor of the third degree if it results in or creates a reasonable likelihood of bodily injury to the minor or student. 
(c) Limitation--Hazing shall not include reasonable and customary athletic, law enforcement or military training, contests, competitions or events.
§2803 Aggravated Hazing 
(a) Aggravated hazing--A person commits the offense of aggravated hazing if the person commits a violation of §2802 (related to hazing) that results in serious bodily injury or death to the minor or student, And
(1) The person acts with reckless indifference to the health and safety of the minor or student; or
(2) The person causes, coerces or forces the consumption of an alcoholic liquid or drug by the minor or student.
(b) Grading---Aggravated hazing shall be a felony of the third degree. 
§ 2804 Organizational Hazing
(a) Organizational hazing---An organization that intentionally, knowingly or recklessly promotes or facilitates a violation of §2802 (relating to hazing) or §2803 (related to aggravated hazing) commits the offense of organizational hazing and shall be subject to any of the following penalties:
(1) A fine of not more than $5,000 for each violation of §2802
(2) A fine of not more than $15,000 for each violation of §2803
(b) Penalties--In addition to any other sentence imposed, if an organization commits the offense of organizational hazing, the organization shall be subject to such other relief as the court deems equitable.
Athletics: Department of Athletics/NCAA 
The Department of Athletics, Physical Education & Recreation prohibits hazing of any kind. Hazing of any Swarthmore student will not be tolerated and will result in College and Athletic Department disciplinary action, including, but not limited to, suspension or expulsion from a team, or the forfeiture of athletic eligibility. 
In addition to Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Timothy J. Piazza Anti-hazing Law, all Swarthmore student athletes are subject to the NCAA’s anti-hazing guidance. The NCAA defines hazing as “any act committed against someone joining or becoming a member or maintaining membership in any organization that is humiliating, intimidating or demeaning, or endangers the health and safety of the person. Hazing includes active or passive participation in such acts and occurs regardless of the willingness to participate in the activities. Hazing creates an environment/climate in which dignity and respect are absent.” Click here to review the NCAA's Hazing Prevention Handbook.
Individuals and/or organizations found in violation of this policy are subject to Swarthmore College disciplinary action, and may also be subject to criminal penalties applicable under Pennsylvania’s anti-hazing law.
The sanctions for violations of College policy may include remedial or corrective actions as warranted. The following list of sanctions is illustrative rather than exhaustive, and the College reserves the right to impose other reasonable sanctions or to combine sanctions as it deems appropriate:
a. Warning - A written notification that a violation of policy occurred and that any further responsible finding of misconduct may result in more severe disciplinary action. Warnings are typically recorded for internal purposes only and are not considered part of a student’s permanent student conduct record. Though disclosed with a student’s signed consent, a student who receives a warning is still considered in good standing at the College.
b. Probation - A designated period of time during which a student may have restrictions on their activities, actions, and/or eligibility to hold certain student leadership positions, and may be subject to more severe sanctions if found responsible for additional violations of the Student Code of Conduct. A sanction of probation would be imposed when there has been a repeated or serious violation of the Student Code of Conduct. If a student on probation is found responsible for additional violations of the Student Code of Conduct, additional sanctions can include suspension or expulsion from the College. Notification of probation is considered a change in good standing status and notification of the change will normally be sent to parents or guardians. A student who is placed on probation, is not considered in good standing during their period of probation.
c. Suspension - The separation of a student from the College for a specified period of time, after which the student is eligible to return. Conditions for re-enrollment may be required and will be included in the notification of suspension. Suspended students are required to comply with the College’s re-admission process prior to being eligible for re-enrollment. 
During the period of suspension, the student may not participate in College academic or extracurricular activities; may be barred from all property owned or operated by the College; and depending on the severity of the charge, the student might not be allowed to progress toward completion of their Swarthmore degree by taking courses at other institutions while suspended. Students who are suspended may not be on campus without specific, written permission of the Vice President for Student Affairs or designee.
Suspension is for a designated period of time and includes the probability of more severe sanctions, including expulsion, if found responsible for additional violations of the Student Code of Conduct or Title IX and College-Defined Sexual Misconduct Policy. Notification of suspension will normally be sent to guardians or parents, as it results in a change of status. As a result of a change in status, a student who is suspended is not considered to be in good standing at the College during their period of suspension.
d. Expulsion - Expulsion is the permanent separation of the student from the College. Students who have been expelled may not be on campus without specific, written permission from the Vice President for Student Affairs or designee. Notification of expulsion will normally be sent to guardians or parents, as it results in a change of status. 
Expulsion may be particularly appropriate if the College has determined that the respondent has engaged in the same or similar conduct and/or has been found in violation of the in the past.
e. Revocation of Affiliation - Revocation of affiliation is the permanent removal of a student as a member of a specific organization and/or the permanent removal of an organization's recognized affiliation with the College. 
f. Loss of privileges - Denial of the use of certain College facilities or the right to participate in certain activities, events, programs or to exercise certain privileges for a designated period of time. This includes Contact Restrictions, denial of ability to represent the College in official capacity, and/or organizational sanctions. 
g. Restitution - A student or organization may be required to make payment to an individual or to the College related to the misconduct for damage, destruction, defacement, theft, or unauthorized use of property.
h. Fines - Swarthmore reserves the right to impose fines, as appropriate, in addition to requiring payment for costs resulting from or associated with the offenses.
i. Relocation or removal from (College-operated) housing - Relocation is the reassignment of a student from one living space to another. Removal from housing is the removal of a student from all College-operated housing. Relocation and removal from housing are typically accompanied by the loss of privileges regarding the visitation to specific residential areas for a specified period of time. 
j. Educational requirements/referrals - The College reserves the right to impose counseling or substance assessments or other required educational sanctions.
The student conduct administrator may broaden or lessen any range of recommended sanctions based on significant mitigating circumstances or egregiously offensive behavior. The student conduct administrator will not deviate from the range of recommended outcomes unless compelling justification exists to do so. The student conduct administrator may issue a single sanction or a combination of sanctions.
k. In considering the appropriate sanction within the recommended outcomes, the student conduct administrator will consider the following factors together with any impact statements provided from the complainant and/or respondent:
(i.) the respondent’s prior discipline history;

(ii.) how the College has sanctioned similar incidents in the past;

(iii.) the nature and violence of the conduct at issue;
(iv.) the impact of the conduct on the complainant, and their desired sanctions, if known;
(v.) the impact of the conduct on the community, its members, or its property;

(vi.) whether the respondent has accepted responsibility;
(vii.) whether the respondent is reasonably likely to engage in the conduct in the future;

(viii.) the need to deter similar conduct by others;
(ix.) any other mitigating or aggravating circumstances, including the College’s values; or
(x.) the respondent’s optional good faith participation in restorative / remedies based educational options during the report, complaint and investigation portions of the resolution process.
If a sanction includes suspension, the respondent is subject to the readmission process as described in the Student Handbook. 
A sanction imposed by the College under this section is separate from and would be in addition to any criminal penalty imposed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for violation of an offense under the Timothy J. Piazza Anti-hazing law or the other criminal laws of the Commonwealth. A violator of this policy may also be separately sanctioned for a violation of other College policies. 
Reporting of Hazing Incidents 
As required by Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Timothy J. Piazza Anti-hazing Law, Act 80 of 2018, twice a year the College will provide the College community with a report that includes information about violations that have been reported to the College for the prior five (5) consecutive years.
This report will not include the personal identifying information of any individual and will reflect reported incidents of hazing to the extent that the institution has retained information about these violation(s). The College posted an initial report on January 15, 2019. The College will update and repost this report on January 1 and August 1, each following year. The College will retain each report for five (5) years.

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