Information for Members of Fraternities and Sororities at FSU
Dear community members,
Fraternities and sororities have been an integral part of campus life at The Florida State University since 1904. These organizations exist on founding principles that foster friendship, scholarship, leadership, and service. Being a member of a fraternity or sorority is one of the most meaningful experiences that enhance your educational, personal, intellectual, and social development.
Members of the Greek community are expected to learn, value, and integrate the activities and rituals that are unique to their organizations into their lives. As a new member or initiated member, you may feel both personal and social pressure to earn or prove your membership, which may result in participating in or agreeing to perform actions that would be considered hazing.
Hazing is inconsistent with the values inherent in fraternities and sororities, as well as our University. Florida State University does not condone hazing among any student(s) or student organization. Hazing includes "any group or individual action or activity that inflicts or intends to inflict physical or mental harm or discomfort or which may demean, disgrace, or degrade any person, regardless of location, intent, or consent of participant(s)" (see Section 5, D of the Student Conduct Code for the full definition). If you feel personal or social pressure to participate in activities that may include harassment, ridicule, intimidation, or physical exhaustion as a result of membership in a fraternity or sorority, please contact the Florida State University Police Department immediately at (850) 644–1234.
Additionally, it is expected that fraternities and sororities uphold federal, state, and local ordinances as well as University policies. All fraternities and sororities recognize at Florida State University are also recognized by inter/national organizations which further educate their members to follow specific risk management practices.
If you have further questions or need resources related to your involvement as a member of the Greek community, please feel free to contact us by visiting our office located in the University Center Side A, visit our website at union.fsu.edu/ofsl/, or e–mail us at email@example.com.
Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life Staff
Resources for Fraternity and Sorority
Phi Delta Theta Anti–Hazing Video
Association of Fraternity Advisors (AFA)
National Pan–Hellenic Council (NPHC) Statement:
National Panhellenic Conference
North–American Interfraternity Conference
Risk Insurance Company, insurer of 47 Greek–letter men's and women's fraternities
The 2015 Florida Statutes, Hazing:
National Hazing Education and Prevention Organizations
National Hazing Prevention
National Hazing Prevention Week
National Hazing Study Report
Inside Hazing: understanding hazardous hazing
Hazing Death/Deaths Clearinghouse
In Memory of Jack Phoummarath
Alternatives to Hazing Ideas for Student Organizations
Sometimes, organizations that haze new members are confused about how to change these practices. There are many creative ways to change from a hazing to a non–hazing organization. The following are some specific examples of ways to eliminate hazing and make membership a challenging but positive experience:
In Greek–letter organizations, the very term "pledge" is often equated with hazing practices. Many national organizations have sought to eliminate this term in order to foster more positive attitudes toward the new members. Some substitute terms include "associate members" and "new members."
When organizations are challenged to eliminate hazing practices, some members may be resistant to this change. In many cases, those who push to keep hazing around are those who are bitter and angry about the hazing that they themselves endured (but they do not admit this publicly) and expect that others should be abused in order to gain "true" membership in the organization. You will also find that some of these people are likely to be the bullies of the organization–people who enjoy a "power trip" at the expense of someone else.
Of course, if you try to eliminate hazing in your group, you will likely encounter many elaborate reasons for why this will be devastating for your organization. While there will be some staunch supporters of the status quo, there will be many who can be convinced of the negative effects and potential risks of hazing. Believers in the supposed "benefits" of hazing may be more likely to change their opinion if they can envision some alternatives. The supposed "benefits" of hazing are listed below with non–hazing alternatives to accomplish the same goal.
Constructive Activities Designed for newcomers to get to know one another and members, or to accomplish a necessary project (e.g. trips to athletic events, softball and other games, socialize with another fraternity or sorority, house clean–up, community service projects on or off campus, dinners with faculty.)
Embarrassing or Potentially Dangerous Activities Which Could Lead to Mental or Physical Injury Examples include walking around campus or city carrying a sign with a ridiculous slogan, shaved heads, singing lewd songs, wearing strange clothing (or none at all), kidnapping, keeping initiates up for an extended time period, interrogating initiates under bright lights for a period of time, building up initiate expectations and then letting them down abruptly, drinking games, forcing initiates to engage in strenuous physical exercise for an extended period. Examples of the most severe hazing include any of the above combined with excessive drinking, coerced or forced drinking or any activity that creates or places an individual at physical risk.
Often, chapters who haze new members are confused about how to change these practices. There are many creative ways to change from a hazing to a non-hazing chapter. The following are some specific examples of ways to eliminate hazing and make pledgeship (new membership) a challenging but positive experience:
Often the very term "pledge" is equated with hazing practices. Many national organizations have sought to eliminate this term in order to foster more positive attitudes toward the new members. Some substitute terms include "associate members" and "new members."
- FOSTER UNITY: Pledges work together on a community service project, pledge class plans and implements a chapter room improvement project, pledges plan a social or athletic event with another pledge class.
- PROMOTE SCHOLARSHIP: Take advantage of university academic and tutoring services, designate quiet hours in your chapter house, invite university speakers to discuss test-taking skills, study methods, etc.
- DEVELOP PROBLEM–SOLVING ABILITIES: Have pledges discuss chapter weaknesses such as poor rush, apathy, and poor scholarship, and plan solutions that the active chapter might then adopt.
- DEVELOP CHAPTER UNITY OF BOTH PLEDGES AND ACTIVES: Involve pledges on chapter committees, hold pledge/member sports events with mixed teams of pledges and actives, and have active chapter/pledge class retreat. Clean the chapter room together.
- DEVELOP LEADERSHIP SKILLS: Visit a ropes course to work on group cohesiveness, communication and leadership skills. Encourage participation in campus activities outside of the organization. Encourage new members to get involved in chapter committees.
- INSTILL A SENSE OF MEMBERSHIP: Plan special events when the entire chapter gets together to attend a movie, play, or church service. Plan a "membership circle" when actives and pledges participate in a candlelight service in which each person has a chance to express what membership means to them.
- BUILD AWARENESS OF CHAPTER HISTORY: Invite an older member to talk about the chapter's early days, its founding, special chapter traditions, and prominent former members.
- KNOWLEDGE OF THE GREEK SYSTEM: Invite leaders of IFC, Panhellenic, PanHellenic, and/or Advisers to speak on Greek governance including their goals and expectations of the Greek system.
- AID CAREER GOALS: Use college resources for seminars on resume writing, job interview skills; various careers.
- INVOLVE PLEDGES IN THE COMMUNITY: Get involved with campus and community service projects. Plan fund-raisers for local charitable organizations.
- IMPROVE RELATIONS WITH OTHER GREEKS: Encourage new members to plan social or service projects with other pledge classes; work together to plan joint social or service activities.
Revised 8/8/2002 by Phi Mu Delta
Breaking the Hazing Cycle
It is not easy to break traditions in a social organization, even traditions that involve hazing. But you do have the power to end these activities. More than that, you have the responsibility to take an active stand against hazing when it is going on. Hazing in any form is not tolerated in the Florida State University community. To be clear: Hazing is not tolerated in the Greek community, in athletic teams, sports clubs, registered student organizations in the Student Activities Center, the Marching Chiefs or anywhere at Florida State University.
If hazing is occurring, it needs to be reported. All reported incidents of hazing will be investigated given available and credible information. All individuals involved in hazing activities are subject to both criminal and/or university judicial proceedings.
- Criminal proceedings are facilitated by the legal system, courts, and police in accordance with laws of the State of Florida regarding hazing.
- Chad Meredith Act Summary, Law, and Florida Administrative Code
- University judicial proceedings are facilitated by the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities in the Dean of Students Department in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct at Florida State University.
- Student Conduct Code, SRR, policies on hazing
Why is there hazing in College?
Hazing persists today because many consider the activities to be a "tradition" or a "rite of passage" which entitles the survivor to presumed special recognition. The reality of hazing is that it is an activity that demeans an individual and can result in serious emotional and/or bodily injury and death. Hazing, as we understand it today, has no place in the Florida State University community.
Who is responsible for stopping hazing at Florida State University?
You are. If you witness a hazing incident, or if you are hazed, you are responsible for making sure you report the incident.
If a culture of hazing exists within your organization, change it by starting new traditions and doing new activities that are not considered hazing. Incoming members of your organization will model after what they see from the veterans. If the veteran leadership sets the standard from day one of not allowing hazing, the incoming, future leaders of the organization will continue on that same path.
Who should I contact to report hazing? And, why is this an important thing to do?
A hazing incident may be reported by anyone; a person who the activity directly affected, a person who was involved in the incident; faculty/staff, parents, friends, or community members. If you have witnessed or have knowledge of a possible hazing incident, please report the incident.
Florida State University's ability to investigate reported incidents, enforce the university’s expectations, and protect future students depends on the accuracy and specificity of the information provided. You are encouraged to provide as much specific detail as possible so that appropriate action can be taken to address the reported behavior. You have the option to submit a report anonymously, though officials may find it difficult to complete their investigation without knowing the source of the report.
When reporting, provide the following information:
- What is the name of the organization that you are reporting for acts 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 either 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.
- Your name, phone number, and e-mail address
How can I address hazing activities within my student organization?
To effectively address hazing in your student organization, club sport, athletics team, fraternity/sorority, you must:
Make your members aware. Share information about hazing within your organization and refer students, faculty and staff to this web site. Also, be sure to refer members to your national organization (if applicable) or other affiliated group (e.g., NCAA, FIPG risk management policies, NIC, etc.) that has a position statement on hazing.
This web site contains all of the information you will need to learn about Florida State University’s position on hazing and how it is handled in our community.
Educate your members. Teach your members that there are alternatives to hazing. Take advantage of your advisor and other faculty/staff at Florida State to discuss the issue of hazing within your organization. Discuss and explore hazing issues and your organization’s current rituals and traditions at your annual/semester organization retreats.
Detect violations by your members. Be alert for activities and comments of your members that may indicate hazing; don t look the other way. At Florida State University, community members have the responsibility to address the issue of hazing with each other. If a member of your group jokes about hazing — address it. This is an opportunity to proactively address this important issue, before someone you care about gets hurt and the issue needs to be addressed by the police and/or university.
Take corrective actions. When you discover members who are hazing, hold them accountable for their behavior within your organization, and report them to the Florida State University Police Department (644–1234).