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Charged with hazing frat brothers or sorority sisters? Seek help

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If you belong to a fraternity or sorority at a Connecticut college or university, you probably know quite a bit about hazing. While that doesn't mean that you have any primary knowledge of hazing incidents, surely you sat through lectures describing how the practices were forbidden both on and off campus.

What may remain a bit unclear is just what comes under the umbrella of hazing on university campuses. True, the image of intoxicated fraternity brothers funneling beer à la Animal House is prevalent, but falls far short of epitomizing all examples college students may encounter.

Under Connecticut state law, hazing refers to "any action which recklessly or intentionally endangers the health or safety of a person for the purpose of initiation, admission into or affiliation with, or as a condition for continued membership in a student organization."

It includes, but is not limited to, all of the following:

  • Requirement to indecently expose private body parts;
  • Activities designed to subject someone to mental stress extremes, e.g., social isolation or sleep deprivation;
  • Confining a person to very small, dark, unhygienic areas with poor ventilation;
  • Assaulting another person;
  • Requirement that a student ingest a harmful liquid or substance;
  • Eat or imbibe copious amounts of otherwise innocuous liquids or substances;
  • Engage in physical activities that may adversely affect the person's safety or health

It's important to understand that a hazing victim's consent to undergo or willing participation in dangerous or harmful practices does not negate any criminal or civil liabilities of the sorority or fraternity and the individual members.

Punishments and consequences vary, and may be limited to university sanctions or encompass criminal prosecution and civil litigation.

If you are a student facing hazing allegations, it is important to take them seriously and seek professional legal advice before answering police questions.

Source: Stop Hazing, "Connecticut," accessed Sep. 22, 2017

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