Institutional Policy on Hazing
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 of Southern Mississippi 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 or all 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 memberor new member in public, (c) cause a member or new member to be an object of malicious amusement or ridicule, (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 of Southern Mississippi 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.
In addition to being in violation of University policy, hazing, under certain circumstances, may be a violation of the laws of the State of Mississippi, resulting in a criminal prosecution by state and/or local officials. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the hazing activities, responsible parties may be charged with either a misdemeanor or felony. See Mississippi Code Ann. Section 97-3-105.