Otterbein’s Hazing Definition & Policy

Otterbein University’s Student Code of Conduct defines hazing consistent with Collin’s Law: The Ohio Anti-Hazing Act (Ohio Revised Code 2903.31).

  1. “Hazing” means doing any act or coercing another, including the victim, to do any act of initiation into any student or other organization or any act to continue to reinstate membership in or affiliation with any student or other organization that causes or creates a substantial risk of causing mental or physical harm to any person, including coercing another to consume alcohol or a drug of abuse as defined in section 3719.011 of the Revised Code.
  2. “Organization” includes a national or international organization with which a fraternity or sorority is affiliated.
    1. No person shall recklessly participate in the hazing of another.
    2. No administrator, employee, faculty member, teacher, consultant, alumnus, or volunteer of any organization
    1. No person shall recklessly participate in the hazing of another when the hazing includes coerced consumption of alcohol or drugs of abuse resulting in serious physical harm to the other person.
    2. No administrator, employee, faculty member, teacher, consultant, alumnus, or volunteer of any organization, including any primary, secondary, or post-secondary school or any other educational institution, public or private, shall recklessly permit the hazing of any person associated with the organization when the hazing includes coerced consumption of alcohol or drugs of abuse resulting in serious physical harm to that person.
  1. Whoever violates this section is guilty of hazing. A violation of division (B)(1) or (2) of this section is a misdemeanor of the second degree. A violation of division (C)(1) or (2) of this section is a felony of the third degree.

Otterbein University prohibits hazing as defined in this policy. Any person suffering or witnessing an incident of hazing shall report the incident(s) to the University, using any of the reporting options available at Otterbein University.

All membership-related activities must be approved by the chairperson of the group and the adviser to the group prior to the activity, and shall be kept within properly reserved space. The activity must not interfere with the rights and activities of others and shall reflect the best interests of the members of the organization it represents as well as the University community as a whole.

Officers of organizations violating hazing policies will be held responsible for the group actions. They may be referred to the Student Conduct Hearing Board and tried as individuals, even though disciplinary action is taken against the organization.

The University will investigate and respond to all reports of hazing as outlined in this policy.

  1. University student groups (e.g. registered student organizations, intramural, club and varsity athletic teams, and other recognized students groups) and individual students are prohibited from hazing.
  2. Hazing is prohibited in any form both on and off campus. See Current Student Organization Disciplinary Status Information >

To report an incident of hazing anonymously, please use the link: https://www.otterbein.edu/police/silent-witness-form/

Ohio State Law on Hazing

Ohio Revised Code 2903.31 | Hazing

  1. As used in this section:”
    1. Hazing” means doing any act or coercing another, including the victim, to do any act of initiation into any student or other organization or any act to continue or reinstate membership in or affiliation with any student or other organization that causes or creates a substantial risk of causing mental or physical harm to any person, including coercing another to consume alcohol or a drug of abuse, as defined in section 3719.011 of the Revised Code.
    2. “Organization” includes a national or international organization with which a fraternity or sorority is affiliated.
    1. No person shall recklessly participate in the hazing of another.
    2. No administrator, employee, faculty member, teacher, consultant, alumnus, or volunteer of any organization, including any primary, secondary, or post-secondary school or any other educational institution, public or private, shall recklessly permit the hazing of any person associated with the organization.
    1. No person shall recklessly participate in the hazing of another when the hazing includes coerced consumption of alcohol or drugs of abuse resulting in serious physical harm to the other person.
    2. No administrator, employee, faculty member, teacher, consultant, alumnus, or volunteer of any organization, including any primary, secondary, or post-secondary school or any other educational institution, public or private, shall recklessly permit the hazing of any person associated with the organization when the hazing includes coerced consumption of alcohol or drugs of abuse resulting in serious physical harm to that person.
  2. Whoever violates this section is guilty of hazing. A violation of division (B)(1) or (2) of this section is a misdemeanor of the second degree. A violation of division (C)(1) or (2) of this section is a felony of the third degree.

Ohio Revised Code 3345.19 | Anti-hazing policy

  1. As used in this section:
    1. “Hazing” and “organization” have the same meanings as in section 2903.31 of the Revised Code.
    2. “Institution of higher education” means the following:
      1. A state institution of higher education as defined in section 3345.011 of the Revised Code;
      2. A nonprofit institution holding a certificate of authorization pursuant to Chapter 1713. of the Revised Code;
      3. An institution holding a certificate of registration from the state board of career colleges and schools;
      4. A private institution exempt from regulation under Chapter 3332. of the Revised Code as prescribed in section 3333.046 of the Revised Code.
  2. Each institution of higher education shall develop an anti-hazing policy that prohibits students enrolled in an institution of higher education, or other individuals associated with an organization recognized by or operating under the sanction of an institution, from engaging in hazing or a violation of section 2903.31 of the Revised Code. The policy shall apply to an act conducted on or off-campus if the act is determined to constitute hazing or a violation of section 2903.31 of the Revised Code. The policy shall apply only if the hazing or violation of section 2903.31 of the Revised Code takes place between two or more people who are affiliated with the institution. The policy shall include all of the following:
    1. Rules prohibiting hazing;
    2. A method to enforce the policy;
    3. Appropriate penalties for violations of the policy, which may include any of the following:
    1. The imposition of fines;
    2. Withholding of diplomas or transcripts pending compliance with the rules or payment of fines;
    3. The revocation of permission for an organization to operate on campus or to otherwise operate under the recognition or sanction of the institution;
    4. The imposition of probation, suspension, dismissal, or expulsion.
      A penalty imposed under the policy adopted under division (B) of this section shall be in addition to a penalty imposed for a violation of section 2903.31 of the Revised Code, the criminal laws of this state, or for a violation of any other rule of the institution to which the individual or organization who committed the violation may be subject.
  3. Each institution shall provide a copy of the policy, including the institution’s rules, penalties, and method to enforce the policy, to each organization within the institution. Additionally, each institution shall post the policy on the institution’s publicly accessible web site.
    1. Beginning in the 2022-2023 academic year, each institution shall maintain a report of all violations of the institution’s policy adopted under division (B) of this section or other state law regarding hazing that are reported to the institution. Each institution shall post the report on its publicly accessible web site. Each report shall include all of the following:
      1. The name of the subject of the report;
      2. The date when the subject of the report was charged with a violation of the institution’s policy or other state law regarding hazing;
      3. A general description of the violation, any investigation and findings by the institution, and any penalties imposed on the subject of the report;
      4. The date on which the matter was resolved.
    2. Each institution shall post the initial report issued under division (D) of this section on the institution’s publicly accessible web site not later than January 15, 2023. Thereafter, each institution shall update the report on the first day of January and August of each year and shall post the updated report on the institution’s publicly accessible web site. However, each institution shall retain reports for five consecutive years.
    3. The initial report issued under division (D) of this section shall include information concerning hazing violations that have been reported to the institution for the five consecutive years prior to the effective date of this section to the extent that the institution has retained information concerning the violations.
    4. Each report issued under division (D) of this section shall not include the personal identifying information of an individual and shall be subject to the “Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974,” 20 U.S.C. 1232g.
    1. Each institution shall provide students with an educational program on hazing, which shall include information regarding hazing awareness, prevention, intervention, and the institution’s policy developed under division (B) of this section. The educational program may be conducted in-person or online. The institution must offer at least one opportunity for students to complete the program during a new student orientation session. Each institution shall verify each student’s attendance at the program. Each institution shall prohibit a student who does not attend the program from participating in an organization recognized by or operating under the sanction of the institution until the student attends the program. An organization shall not accept or initiate any person who has not attended the program.
    2. Each institution shall provide all staff and volunteers that advise or coach an organization recognized by or operating under the sanction of an institution and who have direct contact with students with mandatory training on hazing, which shall include information on hazing awareness, hazing prevention, and the institution’s policy adopted under division (B) of this section.
    3. Each institution shall adopt rules requiring any organization recognized by or operating under the sanction of that institution to conduct mandatory training on hazing for any volunteer who has contact with students.
    4. Each institution shall ensure that the educational program and training prescribed under this division comply with the guidelines prescribed under division (B)(2) of section 3333.0417 of the Revised Code.
  4. Nothing in this section shall be construed to create a private right of action against any individual or institution of higher education.

Ohio Revised Code 2307.44 | Hazing civil liability
Any person who is subjected to hazing, as defined in division (A) of section 2903.31 of the Revised Code, may commence a civil action for injury or damages, including mental and physical pain and suffering, that result from the hazing. The action may be brought against any participants in the hazing, any organization whose local or national directors, trustees, or officers authorized, requested, commanded, or tolerated the hazing, and any local or national director, trustee, or officer of the organization who authorized, requested, commanded, or tolerated the hazing. If the hazing involves students in a primary, secondary, or post-secondary school, university, college, or any other educational institution, an action may also be brought against any administrator, employee, or faculty member of the school, university, college, or other educational institution who knew or reasonably should have known of the hazing and who did not make reasonable attempts to prevent it and against the school, university, college, or other educational institution. If an administrator, employee, or faculty member is found liable in a civil action for hazing, then notwithstanding Chapter 2743. of the Revised Code, the school, university, college, or other educational institution that employed the administrator, employee, or faculty member may also be held liable.

The negligence or consent of the plaintiff or any assumption of the risk by the plaintiff is not a defense to an action brought pursuant to this section. In an action against a school, university, college, or other educational institution, it is an affirmative defense that the school, university, college, or other institution was actively enforcing a policy against hazing at the time the cause of action arose.

Hazing Education

All students are expected to complete hazing education and prevention through the online module facilitated by AliveTek. This module covers Ohio state law, Otterbein University policy, and how to identify and prevent hazing.

Students are required to complete this online educational module in order to participate in any University group. This completion for participation is tracked and managed by rosters submitted by the individual organizations and respective campus departments.

First year students are sent the link to complete the online educational module as part of the required trainings prior to starting classes in the Fall. Current students receive regular reminders throughout the school year encouraging completion of the online educational module.

Additional hazing education is provided to the sorority and fraternity community by the Center for Student Involvement. All new members of sororities and fraternities must participate in Greek 101, which covers topics addressing hazing, alcohol, drugs, and general expectations for participating with a chapter on Otterbein’s campus. Greek 101 occurs within the first week of the New Member Education process.

Sorority and fraternity chapter leadership is also required to complete a similar training to Greek 101 covering the same topics, and receive the information that is presented to all new members of sororities and fraternities. This training occurs prior to the start of the New Member Education process.

Types of Hazing

Hazing takes many forms. There is a wide range of behaviors that fit the definition of hazing. It can be subtle harassing, or violent in nature. It can appear in the form of physical violence, forced physical activities, psychological and/or emotional harm, which can be violations of the law. It is impossible to list all possible hazing behaviors, the lists below provide some common actions and activities that are examples of hazing behaviors. Regardless of the category the behavior falls under, these categories do not negate no lessen an allegation of hazing. Regardless of the category, hazing is hazing and is not welcome at Otterbein University.

Subtle Hazing
“Subtle” hazing refers to activities that are often taken for granted or accepted as “harmless” or meaningless. There is an emphasis placed on a power imbalance between new members and other members of the organization, thus leading to activities or attitudes that breach reasonable standards of mutual respect, and place new members on the receiving end of ridicule or embarrassment. New members often feel the need to endure subtle hazing to feel like part of the organization. Examples may include:

  • Requiring new members to perform unnecessary duties not assigned to existing members
  • Required calisthenics such as sit-ups or push-ups, or other forms of physical exercise
  • Sleep deprivation
  • The assignment of meaningless and sometimes impossible tasks
  • Required “greeting” of members in a specific manner when seen on campus
  • Required carrying of certain items
  • Required walking in groups to class, the cafeteria, etc.
  • Restriction of communication

Harassment Hazing
“Harassment” hazing confuses, frustrates, and causes undue stress for new members. This behavior has the potential to cause emotional anguish and/or physical discomfort. (Note: Some types of harassment hazing can also be considered violent hazing.) Examples may include:Yelling or screaming

  • Personal servitude or chores
  • Lineups for the purpose of interrogating, demeaning, or intimidating
  • Wearing of embarrassing or uncomfortable clothing
  • Assigning pranks such as stealing, painting objects, or harassing other organizations
  • Forced confinement, oftentimes involving very loud music and/or the repetition of a specific song
  • Being dropped off somewhere and forced to find the way back

Violent Hazing
“Violent” hazing is behavior that has the potential to cause physical, emotional, and/or psychological harm. It often includes activities that tend to be the most extreme types of hazing. Examples may include:

  • Capturing or kidnapping
  • Total or partial nudity
  • Compelled sexual activity
  • Pushing, shoving, tackling, or any other physical contact
  • Forced consumption of any liquid or food, often involving alcohol and/or gross food combinations
  • Paddling or whipping
  • Branding, cutting, labeling, or shaving parts of the body

Adapted from stophazing.org

How do I know if it is hazing?

If you are still unsure whether it is hazing based on the information and examples provided, ask yourself…

  • Would I feel uncomfortable participating in this activity if my family were watching?
  • Would a University administrator disapprove of this activity?
  • Am I being asked to keep these activities a secret?
  • Am I doing anything illegal?
  • Does participation in an activity violate my values or the those of my organization?
  • Is it causing emotional distress or stress of any kind to me or others?

If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, please submit a report.

Reporting Options

Otterbein University is committed to reviewing all reports of hazing. Campus safety is our top priority and we take all reports of misconduct seriously to protect everyone’s health and well-being. Otterbein University depends on community members to identify and report behaviors or concerns so that the University can provide distressed students and employees with appropriate support services and resources.

If a member of the University committee is aware of an immediate physical danger to a student or others, they must contact the Otterbein Police Department at 614-823-1222 or dial 911.

If you see any concerning or suspicious behavior, individuals may report this hazing by contacting any of the following:

Anonymous reports are accepted; however, the University’s ability to obtain additional information and investigate anonymous reports may be limited.

When reporting, please be prepared to provide the following information as best as you can:

  • What is the name of the organization/individual(s) you are reporting for act(s) of hazing?
  • When did the event(s) occur?
  • Where did the event(s) take place?
  • What time of day did the event(s) occur?
  • Who was involved in this event?
  • Are there any other people that were present or can corroborate the information you are providing? Please provide their names and contact information (if available).
  • How did you become aware of the event(s)?
  • Please describe the event(s) in as much detail as possible.
  • Please provide any documentation or photographs you may have.
  • Your name, phone number, and email address, unless submitting an anonymous report.