Michigan Technological University is concerned about the emotional, psychological, and physical health and well-being of its students and expects all students to be treated with equal care, concern, honor, and dignity. 

Any form of hazing is unacceptable and is in direct conflict with institutional values and the rights and dignity of students, all of whom have the right to belong to groups without undergoing hazing or any risks of physical or emotional injury or humiliation as a right of entry to a student organization/group/team. Consent to hazing is never a defense to a violation of this policy.

Hazing Policy

The University prohibits hazing by individuals or groups and defines it as follows:

Hazing is any activity expected of someone joining or participating in a group that humiliates, degrades, abuses, or endangers them (regardless of their willingness to participate), and which is not related to the acceptable published mission of the organization/group/team. This includes any activity, whether it is presented as optional or required, that places a new member in a position of servitude as a condition of membership. Prohibited acts of hazing include those covered under Michigan state law, whether or not any physical injury results from the hazing activity.

New members of a student organization/group/team can expect to participate in educational, competitive, and/or recreational activities that build teamwork and camaraderie among all members of the organization/group/team. Such activities are intended to create a sense of identity and commitment within an organization/group/team. Students should check with Student Leadership and Involvement, Academic and Community Conduct, Athletic Department, and/or Public Safety and Police Services if there is any question(s) about what constitutes hazing or any initiation/pledging/new member requirements.

New members often wish to be accepted, either formally or informally, into any group, and some will even submit to hazing in order to be included. Because of this, consent to be hazed does not excuse hazing. Students have died or been seriously injured as a result of participating in such activities to which they have “consented.” The psychological pull to be accepted is so strong that hazing victims cannot be expected to resist hazing, even if the hazing is presented as optional. That this pull can be so coercive should make this need to prohibit this conduct, to any degree, undeniably clear.

Any activity that places new members in a subservient position to experienced members for other than published, legitimate organizational/group/team purposes creates an unhealthy and unsafe power dynamic in which control has been yielded to the experienced member. New members in any organization may expect to be trained, oriented, or indoctrinated in acceptable published organizational purposes and goals, but membership in any group that puts a new member in a lesser role, unrelated to the original acceptable published conditions for membership or mission of the group, is inappropriate and unfair to the new members. Any activities of membership should be equally shared among experienced and new members.

Examples of some of the prohibited activities that may be deemed as hazing:

  1. Any physical act of violence or intimidation expected of, or inflicted upon, another.
  2. Any physical activity expected of, or inflicted upon another, including calisthenics.
  3. Pressure or coercion of another to consume any legal or illegal substance.
  4. Making available substances unlawful for any participant’s use or possession.
  5. Excessive fatigue or sleep deprivation as a result of any activities.
  6. Forced exposure to the weather.
  7. Kidnapping, forced road trips, and/or abandonment.
  8. Required carrying of or possessing of a specific item or items.
  9. Servitude (expecting a new member to do the tasks of an experienced member).
  10. Costuming and/or alteration of appearance.
  11. Line-ups and berating.
  12. Coerced lewd conduct, including but not limited to nudity.
  13. Degrading games, activities, or public stunts.
  14. Interference with academic pursuits.
  15. Violation of University policy.
  16. Assignment of illegal and unlawful activities.

The University will take all actions necessary to address hazing policy violations.

 Hazing activities can be categorized as subtle, harassing, or violent. Subtle hazing typically includes a power differential between new and senior members of the organization/group/team. Behaviors are viewed to be “harmless,” however they clearly violate mutual respect, and serve to embarrass or humiliate those targeted. Harassing hazing causes an emotional and physical discomfort on the victim. Violent hazing actually causes physical, emotional, and/or psychological harm.

Alleged violations of this policy will result in University investigation, conduct action including suspension or expulsion, and may be subject to criminal prosecution. Any retaliation against any person who reports, is a witness to, is involved with, or cooperates with the adjudication of hazing is strictly prohibited. If hazing occurs within a student organization/ group/team, it will be presumed the officers have knowledge of, and condone, such activity(s). Conduct action may be taken against the leadership and officers of the student organization/group/team, as well as against the student organization/group/team itself.

Students and/or student organizations/groups/teams charged and found responsible with a violation of the Hazing Policy can receive a sanction ranging from conduct probation to conduct expulsion. Please refer to the Student Code of Community Conduct for more information regarding the University’s administrative conduct process.

State of Michigan Hazing Law

The Michigan Penal Code (Excerpt) Act 328 of 1931

750.411t Hazing prohibited; violation; penalty; exceptions; certain defenses barred; definitions; section title.

Sec. 411t.

(1) Except as provided in subsection (4), a person who attends, is employed by, or is a volunteer of an educational institution shall not engage in or participate in the hazing of an individual.

(2) A person who violates subsection (1) is guilty of a crime punishable as follows:

(a) If the violation results in physical injury, the person is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 93 days or a fine of not more than $1,000.00, or both.

(b) If the violation results in serious impairment of a body function, the person is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 5 years or a fine of not more than $2,500.00, or both.

(c) If the violation results in death, the person is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 15 years or a fine of not more than $10,000.00, or both.

(3) A criminal penalty provided for under this section may be imposed in addition to any penalty that may be imposed for any other criminal offense arising from the same conduct.

(4) This section does not apply to an individual who is the subject of the hazing, regardless of whether the individual voluntarily allowed himself or herself to be hazed.

(5) This section does not apply to an activity that is normal and customary in an athletic, physical education, military training, or similar program sanctioned by the educational institution.

(6) It is not a defense to a prosecution for a crime under this section that the individual against whom the hazing was directed consented to or acquiesced in the hazing.

(7) As used in this section:

(a) “Educational institution” means a public or private school that is a middle school, junior high school, high school, vocational school, college, or university located in this state.

(b) “Hazing” means an intentional, knowing, or reckless act by a person acting alone or acting with others that is directed against an individual and that the person knew or should have known endangers the physical health or safety of the individual, and that is done for the purpose of pledging, being initiated into, affiliating with, participating in, holding office in, or maintaining membership in any organization. Subject to subsection (5), hazing includes any of the following that is done for such a purpose:

(i) Physical brutality, such as whipping, beating, striking, branding, electronic shocking, placing of a harmful substance on the body, or similar activity.

(ii) Physical activity, such as sleep deprivation, exposure to the elements, confinement in a small space, or calisthenics, that subjects the other person to an unreasonable risk of harm or that adversely affects the physical health or safety of the individual.

(iii) Activity involving consumption of a food, liquid, alcoholic beverage, liquor, drug, or other substance that subjects the individual to an unreasonable risk of harm or that adversely affects the physical health or safety of the individual.

(iv) Activity that induces, causes, or requires an individual to perform a duty or task that involves the commission of a crime or an act of hazing.

(c) “Organization” means a fraternity, sorority, association, corporation, order, society, corps, cooperative, club, service group, social group, athletic team, or similar group whose members are primarily students at an educational institution.

(d) “Pledge” means an individual who has been accepted by, is considering an offer of membership from, or is in the process of qualifying for membership in any organization.

(e) “Pledging” means any action or activity related to becoming a member of an organization.

(f) “Serious impairment of a body function” means that term as defined in section 479a.

(8) This section shall be known and may be cited as “Garret's law”.

History: Add. 2004, Act 111, Eff. Aug. 18, 2004