Hazing Policy

Recognizing that the physical and psychological well-being of members of the Alma College community need to be safeguarded and that interference with any person’s academic pursuits needs to be avoided, Alma College prohibits any hazing of an individual in any activities pursued by any College organization, athletic team, campus group or individual. Hazing is defined as any action taken or situation created, whether on or off College premises, that produces mental, emotional or physical discomfort, harassment or ridicule, or which prohibits persons from meeting academic or other personal obligations to the best of their abilities.

The interpretation of this definition is to include, but not be limited to the following: paddling; creation of excessive fatigue; restraining people against their will; physical and psychological shocks; public displays which are unreasonably disruptive to other members of the campus and/or public; wearing publicly costumes which are conspicuous and not normally in good taste; engaging in compulsory public stunts, buffoonery, morally degrading or humiliating games and activities; forced ingestion of any substance (particularly alcohol); and any other activities which are not consistent with the policies or regulations of Alma College. Walk-ins, captures and rip-offs shall not be allowed on or off campus.

The definition of hazing applies whether or not the participants or others perceive the behavior as “voluntary.” The implied or expressed consent of any person toward whom an act of hazing is directed is not a defense. Assertions that the conduct or activity was not part of an official organizational event or was not officially sanctioned or approved by the organization are also not a defense. This definition applies to behavior on or off College property or organization premises.

Accomplice Responsibility:
No student, employee, volunteer, student organization, athletic team or other College-recognized group or association should participate in, solicit, direct, aid, conduct or participate as a witness in hazing.

Group Accountability:
Organizations have an obligation to uphold the policies found in the Student Handbook, including the Policy on Hazing. Organizations that engage in hazing can expect to be held accountable as an organization or team for that activity, along with possible sanctions for individuals that take part in the hazing incident.

Additional sanctions may apply to an organization, group or team which fails or refuses to identify individual members involved in hazing and/or retaliates against anyone who acts to stop or report hazing activity.

Hazing Reports:
Allegations of hazing, including anonymous allegations, may be reported 24 hours a day to the Alma Police by calling 911, or to Public Safety by calling (989) 463-7777.

Alma College students are required to notify appropriate College officials of any perceived instance of hazing, as defined by College policy and/or Michigan law. Reports may be made directly to Public Safety or local law enforcement, or to coaches, advisors, vice presidents or other College officials who have responsibilities for student organizations. Students can also submit a complaint using Alma College’s equity grievance form. You may file a formal or anonymous complaint online.

Alma College employees receiving such reports must share them with the Student Affairs Office and Public Safety. Under state law, Alma College is obligated to report hazing to law enforcement.

Any Alma College student identified as a potential witness must cooperate fully in the course of the investigation. Cooperation may include meeting or communicating with Student Affairs Office, Public Safety, or other College officials as requested. Failure to cooperate fully with the investigation may result in disciplinary action.

Individual Student Reporting and Immunity:
A student who reports activity that may fall within the definition of hazing and who cooperates fully as a witness in the investigation and disciplinary process will not be subject to College disciplinary sanctions if his or her own conduct violated the hazing policy, unless the conduct the student engaged in contributed to causing harm. Students should know that they may be liable for criminal and civil penalties that are beyond Alma College’s control.

Fresh Start Organizational Amnesty Policy:
Members of an organization, group or team who are concerned that some of the organization’s activities do not comply with Alma College’s Policy on Hazing may consult their supervising department head (e.g. Athletics, Student Affairs Office) confidentially for guidance. Under the Fresh Start program, an organization that fully discloses past or recent behavior in violation of the Policy on Hazing will receive assistance as the group develops a new plan to replace the activities in question. The organization will not face College disciplinary action for the activities disclosed, unless the conduct contributed to causing harm. Organizations, groups or teams should know that they may be liable for criminal and civil penalties that are beyond Alma College’s control.

Hazing Outcomes and Accountability:
Students and organizations may be subject to criminal prosecution for violation of the Michigan law prohibiting hazing. Conduct or events that may constitute hazing and that could result in disciplinary sanctions will be referred to the Vice President for Student Affairs or the Campus Judicial Committee for possible adjudication.

Any violations of this policy will follow standard disciplinary procedures set forth in the Student Handbook.

Individual students found responsible for violations of this policy should be prepared for significant sanctions, up to and including suspension or permanent separation from the College.

Student organizations, groups or teams found responsible for violations of this policy should be prepared for sanctions including any of the following:

  • Multiple terms of social probation, during which the organization will be prohibited from hosting any social events or events with alcohol and will be required to comply with educational and other conditions specific to the case, and/or
  • Loss of new member recruitment privileges for a period of a minimum of one year, and/or
  • Loss of competition, travel, programmatic and other privileges associated with acting in the name of the College or representing the College in competitions, events or other activities for a specified period appropriate to the facts and circumstances of the case, and/or
  • Alumni board/advisor/national affiliate notification.

The most serious violations of this policy are likely to result in suspension or revocation of organizational recognition.

Outcome Reporting:
As a further means of holding an organization or team that hazes accountable for its actions, the details of hazing violations, and the consequences to the organization or team, will be reported publicly on a termly basis, provided that a public report would not cause additional harm to the students who have been hazed. Reports will be available on the Student Affairs Office website.

Last revised 6/29/2016