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What is Hazing? College Rituals and Initiations: What A Parent Needs to Know

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Picture of Hazing Of College Student

Picture of a Hazing action

Picture of a Hazing action

What Does "Hazing" Mean

Hazing in college is on the rise and the dangers are real and hazing can kill. You hear them talk about it on the news all the time. If you're like me, then you're probably thinking, (like most parents) "So glad my son isn't involved in that."

I would like to explain "hazing" and what happens during the rituals. I have been hearing all over the news about hazing deaths and I really never knew exactly what it meant. Then, I learned hazing is associated usuallly, with College fraternities or groups, so I decided I better look more closely because I have a son getting ready for college. What I read was absolutely astonishing and just so unbelievable. Please read this as we need to educate our children now; not later, but now.

Hazing Is A Term Used To Describe Different Ritual And Activities That Involve One Or More Of The Following:

  • Harassment
  • Abuse
  • Humiliation

The rituals are used to "initiate" your son or daughter into a fraternity or group. In the United States, the word hazing is normally used with fraternities, but hazing is done all over the world in different initiations to other activities.

Hazing needs to be more publicized and parents and students need more education either from the Colleges or group they have joined. Below is just one story out of many.

You are about to read a story of a hazing incident of a College student in the band. Hazing doesn't just happen in band; it is happening for fraternity pledges, football, basketball, etc. This is a horrible problem and all parents need to step up to the plate and demand answers from the school and really educate your child. It's really hard to so when at 16-24 years old, your kid probably knows everything and doesn't need your advice. After all, you can't text a 100 words in one minute so what would you know about life.

College Student Dies as Result of Hazing

Here is a story of a college student who was involved in a hazing fatality. Your children need to know the dangers of what they are getting into. Such a tragedy that was basically murder.

A 26 Yr old College Student died in Florida that was in the college band and had everything going for him. One evening, a fraternity brother came to the dorms to pick up pledge and bring them back to the fraternity house for a party. That night, Chuck died and the coroner told his mother that the cause was alcohol poisoning. The fraternity and the university refused to accept responsibility or provide a thorough investigation. Incredulous, his mother set out to investigate on her own.

Over the next few weeks and months, she refused to give up her quest to find out the truth. While she was stonewalled at nearly every turn by the institution and the fraternity, witnesses eventually came forward to share details of the night's events. Eventually, the mother had a much clearer picture of what had happened to her son that fateful night. As it turned out, Chuck and two other pledges were locked in the trunk of a car and were allegedly given a pint of Jack Daniels, a 6-pack of beer and a quart of wine and was told to consume it all by the time the car stopped. Later, the pledges were coerced to drink even more at the fraternity house until many passed out. When Chuck passed out, he was carried upstairs and left on a mattress where he ceased breathing soon afterward.

Hazing - Forcing To Drink Alcohol

Binge drinking and hazing deaths.

Binge drinking and hazing deaths.

Are Your Kids Safe At College?

Mothers, Fathers, grandparents, listen up. We are sending our kids to college under the impression they will be taken care of, watched out for and have a great education. Well, we better think again. You think your kids are safe, and they aren't. I'm not saying that every one that goes to college is going to experience this by no means, but there is that possibility and we need to educate ourselves, and our children on Hazing.

Hazing and Teen Being Tied To Pole

Hazing of college student

Hazing of college student

Why Can't They Control Hazing?

The story of student who died as a result of hazing is just ONE story of many, and ONE is too many. There are so many horror stories of our children being robbed of their lives, whether by death, or by doing harm to another because of hazing, that it's almost an epidemic. Please educate your children now. It's never too early, but it could be too late.

So why does this happen? This is One of the most commonly asked questions about hazing in fraternities is why do young men and women participate in such horrific and life-threatening activities just to belong to a group? This seems like a reasonable question--but it reveals the lack of understanding about the dynamics of the hazing process.

Football Players Hazing


What Happens During The Pledging Process?

I've heard of fraternity pledging probably from Animal House or an old funny College movie, but things aren't like they used to be long ago. It's not toga parties anymore and many prospective members don't realize and are not informed of what the pledging process and hazing will entail because this information is shrouded in secrecy by the brotherhood. This, combined with the increasing severity of the hazing over the weeks and months of the pledging process places the pledge in a very vulnerable position and hence, more susceptible to victimization. Compounding these dynamics in fraternities and other male groups is the desire for the pledge or prospective member to "be tough," "stick it out" etc. and prove his masculinity rather than risk being identified as a wimp or sissy.

Talk to Your Kids About Hazing Today

The best preventative way we can help our kids is to talk to them about what Hazing is and give them articles to read. There is plenty of information available on the internet about hazing and what happens. At least they will know what to do avoid or how it starts.

College Hazing Death Stories

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Lisa (author) from Central USA on October 12, 2018:

It's sad and hard for the student to feel like they have to these things to 'fit in".

Everyone needs some sort of acceptance by friends, acquaintances, and even family. We talked to my son before attending college, about bullying and hazing. We told him the dangers and everything we could think of that students (all grades) will probably go through. These colleges need to try at the least, something.

Thea Abella from Philippines on September 18, 2018:

I am so lucky my university doesn't have sororities or fraternities

Lisa (author) from Central USA on January 21, 2017:

Thanks Kenneth! So hard to watch these kids try and fit in at College and high school. They really are being bullied

Lisa (author) from Central USA on December 18, 2015:

Thank you for your comment and information. Just don't understand society today. As parents, we should speak to our children as soon as they are able to understand words. Drill it in their heads and pray they listen.

Jordan Price from Plantation on December 14, 2015:

Great hub! Hazing can happen almost anywhere, not just in college. I just read an incredible piece in Marie Claire about the culture of hazing within nursing. And those are adults who should know better! I think hazing can happen in almost any situation. Here is a hazing resourcre:

Kenneth Avery from Hamilton, Alabama on January 11, 2012:

You are very welcome, weezy, and I urge YOU to keep "the flame burning," by keeping the plight of the bullied. Hazed victims in your thoughts and words. You are a true friend. And champion.


Lisa (author) from Central USA on January 11, 2012:

Thanks Kenneth..I agree that something needs to be done. This is horrible and tragic that kids are actually dying or being threatened. Bullying is what is leading to this hazing.

Kenneth Avery from Hamilton, Alabama on January 11, 2012:

weezy . . .GREAT hub. Very informative. Truthful. Glad that you exposed this deadly "act" among high school and college students. I think that hazing should be considered a felony IF a life is threatened or is put in a life-threatening situation. Good, clean, initiations of my day are a thing of the past. I guess that society was not satisfied with harmless things but craved violent, degrading gestures to fulfill their animalistic. Barbaric personas.

Voted up and all but funny.



Lisa (author) from Central USA on December 09, 2011:

Thanks for your comments. I too have never really known what hazing actually is. Now I am educating my child on it as he gets ready to head off for college. Very very scary especially to those who want to "fit in."

Honor Meci from UK on December 09, 2011:

I had never heard of it before your hub. Humans are pretty grim creatures when part of a gang or crowd. An informative hub thank you

angela p from Richmond, Virginia on December 09, 2011:

This is very scary. I have heard of hazing but thought that it was illegal and not as common as it once was. Great hub and very informative.

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