Hazing Policy

The University of Southern Mississippi is a state institution of higher education devoted to excellence in teaching, research and service to the people of the state. A part of that mission is fulfilled by the university's commitment to the development of students through academic and extracurricular activities.

In keeping with its commitment to a positive academic environment, the university has unconditionally opposed any situation created intentionally or unintentionally to produce mental, physical, psychological or emotional discomfort, embarrassment, harassment or ridicule.

The University of Southern Mississippi interprets hazing in a manner consistent with the Association of Fraternity Insurance Purchasing Group (FIPG) in its statement of hazing and pre-initiation activities. The University of Southern Mississippi follows all state and federal guidelines concerning hazing and any other behavior that could be interpreted as such. In essence, hazing shall include any of the following:

A.  Any willful act or practice by a member or new member directed against a member or new member that, with or without intent,

  1. is likely, with reasonable possibility, to cause bodily harm or danger, offensive physical punishment or disturbing pain;
  2. is likely to (a) compromise the dignity of a member or new member, (b) cause embarrassment or shame to a member or new member in public, (c) cause a member or new member to be an object of malicious amusement or ridicule, or (d) cause psychological harm or substantial emotional strain; or
  3. will unreasonably or unusually, impair a member's or new member's academic efforts

B.   Any requirement that compels a member or new member to participate in any activity that is illegal, which is known by the compelling person or group to be contrary to the moral or religious beliefs of a member or new member, or that is contrary to any rules or regulations of this university constitutes hazing

Hazing by individuals or organizations is strictly prohibited at The University of Southern Mississippi. Individuals and organizations both must be responsible for ensuring that all activities exclude any form of hazing. While chapter members may not be present at a new member activity, it is still the chapter's responsibility to ensure the activity does not include hazing. It is important that chapters realize they are responsible for the new member activities and are held accountable for hazing violations if they occur.

In conjunction with the statement made by the Association of Fraternity Advisers, the following is a list of some fraternity activities considered to be hazing by The University of Southern Mississippi. These are only examples of some hazing activities and are not the only activities considered to be hazing. The university follows all state and federal guidelines concerning hazing and any other behavior that could be interpreted as such. 

C. Any action taken or situation created intentionally, whether on or off fraternity premises, to produce mental or physical discomfort, embarrassment or ridicule constitutes hazing.  Such activities may include, but are not limited to, the following: use of alcohol; paddling in any form; creation of excessive fatigue; physical and psychological shocks; quests, treasure hunts, scavenger hunts, road trips or any other such activities carried on outside or inside of the confines of the chapter house; wearing of public apparel that is conspicuous and not normally in good taste; engaging in public stunts and buffoonery; morally degrading or humiliating games and activities; and any other such activities that are not consistent with academic achievement, fraternal law, ritual or policy, or the regulations and policies of the educational institution, or applicable state law.

Additional Guidelines

A. NPHC Intake Requirements - All requirements in a new-member program must in some way enhance the individual's emotional, spiritual or intellectual development. New members must be made aware of all these requirements at the beginning of the new member program. A student joining a fraternity or sorority must be enrolled full-time, have at least a 2.5 cumulative GPA and at least 12 Southern Miss credit hours prior to initiation.

B. Meetings and Study Time - Reasonable notice must be given for all meetings and new member requirements. Regarding study hours and library hours, choices of several convenient times must be available. Study time should be for studying pledge education material and actual academic requirements of the new members as indicated by their instructors at Southern Miss. No other activities should be required, and no work shall be done on anyone else's schoolwork or personal paperwork except the new member's own work. The actives may not ask the new members to do library work or help with the actives' school requirements in any way. Sorority and fraternity activities should not be so time-consuming as to interfere with studying.

C. Walking on Campus - New members may walk where they want to walk when they choose. No rules may be made by the actives about walking in front of, beside or in a line with other members or new members.

D. Communication - Freedom of speech is a constitutionally guaranteed right. Any restriction of new members’ communication is prohibited. This means that new members will attend and speak in class, regularly scheduled meetings and study groups as usual.  Nonverbal expressions, such as smiling or waving, cannot be restricted either. Actives may not verbally abuse or threaten new members in any way.

E. Scheduling - No sorority or fraternity activities may be required that conflict with classes, work, meals or sleeping time. Sleeping time may be defined as anytime between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. on Sunday through Thursday and a minimum of eight hours of sleep on Fridays and Saturdays.

F. Physical Restrictions - The following physical restrictions will NOT be allowed:

  1. Blindfolding, impairing vision or obstructing of nose and mouth
  2. Physical exercise, such as pushups, sit-ups or running
  3. Maintaining any uncomfortable or humiliating position or posture, such as kneeling or squatting
  4. Physical abuse, such as hitting, pushing or slapping
  5. Physical constraints, such as tying up people with ropes, cloth or chains
  6. Locking anyone in any area, such as closets, trunks of cars, storage rooms, bedrooms or chapter rooms
  7. Requiring anyone to eat or drink any substance; no actions may be taken by new members or actives that compromise a person's physical or emotional well-being

G. Transportation - No new member or members may be involuntarily transported anywhere. The new member or members must be told exactly where they are going and be allowed to return at any time.

H. Visitation - New members must not be required to visit members to the point of interfering with study time, classes, work or adequate rest.

I. Emotional Discomfort - New members must not be made emotionally uncomfortable in any way. New members should never be frightened or threatened.

J.  Scavenger Hunts and Road Trips - Scavenger hunts and required road trips in order to meet initiation requirements will not be allowed.

Sanctions

Any campus organization that authorizes or condones activities that constitute hazing will be subject to review of these activities by the appropriate judicial body or administrative office. When IFC, Panhellenic, the National Panhellenic Council or the Office of Greek Life has reason to believe that hazing has occurred, the following procedures will likely occur in handling the complaint:

A. The advisers, state or regional director or national office will be notified immediately.

B. All new-member activities will cease until the hearing is held.

C. A statement concerning the incident will not be released from the Office of Greek Life, the Dean of Students Office or the respective council until the university Fraternity/Sorority Committee has reviewed the incident, and a decision has been reached.

D. Appeals of IFC, Panhellenic and National Pan-Hellenic judicial boards must be made in writing to the Fraternity/Sorority Committee within 72 hours upon receiving the written sanction. This letter may be brought to the Office of the Dean of Students.

This review may lead to disciplinary actions that might include, but are not limited to, probationary restrictions, revocation of campus privileges, notification of national offices, or possible suspension or removal of an organization's charter. In addition, individuals involved in hazing incidents may be held accountable to the university for their actions, and disciplinary measures may be initiated against them, including suspension or expulsion.

If violations of the law occur, individuals may also be reported to local law officials for further investigation. An appeal of the decision of the university Fraternity/Sorority Committee must be made in writing to the vice president for Student Affairs within 48 hours.

To ensure that all chapter members are aware of this policy, each chapter will be responsible for informing all members and new members in writing of the Hazing Statement Policy and reviewing annually this policy with all chapter members.

The chapter president and new member educator will then be required to sign a Hazing Statement Form at the beginning of each semester. Individual fraternity or sorority members and new members will also be required to sign a Chapter Hazing Statement Form at the beginning of each academic year or the beginning of a new member term. Fraternity activities, including intake and initiation, will not be approved until the forms are submitted.