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Hazing Mythology & Prevention Joe Gervais, M.Ed. University of Vermont.

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Presentation on theme: "Hazing Mythology & Prevention Joe Gervais, M.Ed. University of Vermont."— Presentation transcript:

1 Hazing Mythology & Prevention Joe Gervais, M.Ed. University of Vermont

2 47% of students come to college having experienced hazing.47% of students come to college having experienced hazing. 55% of college students involved in clubs, teams, and organizations experience hazing.55% of college students involved in clubs, teams, and organizations experience hazing. 90% of students who have experienced hazing behavior in college do not consider themselves to have been hazed.90% of students who have experienced hazing behavior in college do not consider themselves to have been hazed. National Study of Student Hazing 2008

3 More students perceive positive rather than negative outcomes of hazing.More students perceive positive rather than negative outcomes of hazing. In 95% of the cases where students identified their experience as hazing, they did not report the events to campus officials.In 95% of the cases where students identified their experience as hazing, they did not report the events to campus officials. In more than half of the hazing incidents, a member of the offending group posts pictures on a public web space.In more than half of the hazing incidents, a member of the offending group posts pictures on a public web space. National Study of Student Hazing 2008

4 IT COULD HAPPEN. IT DOES HAPPEN!

5 Myth—A popular belief or assumption embodying the ideals and institutions of a society or segment of society (i.e. athletic teams, Greek letter organizations).Myth—A popular belief or assumption embodying the ideals and institutions of a society or segment of society (i.e. athletic teams, Greek letter organizations). What are some popular beliefs and assumptions about hazing?What are some popular beliefs and assumptions about hazing? Mythology

6 Prevalent Hazing Beliefs Hazing is no more than innocent pranks.Hazing is no more than innocent pranks. As long as there is no malicious intent, a little hazing is OK and can be a good thing.As long as there is no malicious intent, a little hazing is OK and can be a good thing. EVERYONE PARTICIPATED VOLUNTARILY, SO IT CAN’T BE CONSIDERED HAZING.EVERYONE PARTICIPATED VOLUNTARILY, SO IT CAN’T BE CONSIDERED HAZING. HAZING BRINGS US TOGETHER AS A GROUP AND HELPS TO CREATE BONDS.HAZING BRINGS US TOGETHER AS A GROUP AND HELPS TO CREATE BONDS.

7 Myth is also…an unfounded or false notion. Beliefs and assumptions about hazing, that it will bring a group together and promote improved functioning, are not well founded or true. Just the opposite… HAZING DIVIDES GROUPS, IMPEDES FUNCTIONING!

8 The Great Divide Gap between what students believe is hazing, and how hazing is defined in policy/law.Gap between what students believe is hazing, and how hazing is defined in policy/law. Alfred Reports (1999, 2000)Alfred Reports (1999, 2000) National Study of Student Hazing (2008)National Study of Student Hazing (2008)

9 Hazing Defined [UVM Policy] Hazing means any act committed by a person, whether individually or in concert with others, against a student in connection with pledging, being initiated into, affiliating with, holding office in, or maintaining membership in any organization …; and that is intended, or should reasonably be expected, to have the effect of humiliating, intimidating, or demeaning the student or endangering the mental or physical health of a student.

10 Hazing Defined [UVM Policy continued] Hazing also includes soliciting, directing, aiding, or otherwise participating actively or passively in such acts. Hazing occurs regardless of the consent or willingness of a person to participate in the activity. Hazing may occur on or off campus.

11 Hazing Defined [www.stophazing.org] Any activity expected of someone joining or participating in a group that humiliates, degrades, abuses, or endangers them regardless of a person’s willingness to participate. Any activity expected of someone joining or participating in a group that humiliates, degrades, abuses, or endangers them regardless of a person’s willingness to participate.

12 Common Sense Hazing Test 1.Is this a team or group activity that members are encouraged or expected to attend and where illegal activity is taking place? 2.Does the activity risk emotional or physical harm? 3.Is there any risk of injury or a question of safety? 4.Would you object to the activity being photographed for the school paper, local news, and/or posted on the internet?

13 Why Does Hazing Happen? Why Does Hazing Happen? Psychological Considerations: ►Intense desire/need to belong. ►Cognitive dissonance. Can’t change behavior, so change attitude. ►Emotional displacement. Denial of emotional consequences. Take it out on the next class!

14 MORAL DISENGAGEMENT (A. Bandura, Stanford U.) MORAL DISENGAGEMENT (A. Bandura, Stanford U.) Gradual disengagement of moral self- sanction. Behavior normally viewed as immoral, even reprehensible, becomes more benign, acceptable, or worthy in a particular social setting. Gradual disengagement of moral self- sanction. Behavior normally viewed as immoral, even reprehensible, becomes more benign, acceptable, or worthy in a particular social setting. Example: military training.

15 Ways we disengage morally: 1.Moral justification—make it socially worthy (e.g. creating “bonds,” building “unity”) 2.Euphemistic labeling—sanitized language of non-responsibility (e.g. “team building,” “initiation”)

16 Mechanisms of moral disengagement 4.Displacement of responsibility “We’re just carrying on tradition!” 5.Diffusion of responsibility— groupthink Avoidance of individual responsibility and/or accountability. 6.Disregard/distortion of consequences We’re good at hiding pain, emotional or otherwise. “It wasn’t that bad.” We’re good at hiding pain, emotional or otherwise. “It wasn’t that bad.”

17 Mechanisms of moral disengagement 7.Dehumanization Masks, costumes, etc. Masks, costumes, etc. Dehumanizing language (rook, grunt) Dehumanizing language (rook, grunt) Perceptions of rookies as “less-than” Perceptions of rookies as “less-than” 8.Attribution of blame Blame the victim! “If only he kept his mouth shut.” Blame the victim! “If only he kept his mouth shut.”

18 Hazing Humiliates & degradesHumiliates & degrades Tears down individualsTears down individuals Creates divisionCreates division Shame & secrecyShame & secrecy Is a power tripIs a power trip InitiationInitiation Promotes respect & dignityPromotes respect & dignity Supports & empowersSupports & empowers Creates teamworkCreates teamwork Pride & integrityPride & integrity Is a shared positive experienceIs a shared positive experience IntegrationIntegration Team Building

19 Why Stop Hazing? 1.Practical—Hazing myths don’t operate as people believe they do. 2.Moral—Do you really want to be responsible for physical and/or emotional harm to your teammate (brother)? 3.Leadership—No matter what your beliefs about hazing, policy & law prohibit the practice. Are the (questionable!) benefits worth the risk?

20 Resources Alfred Study on Intercollegiate Athletics (1999) Alfred Study on High School Groups (2000)

21 References Allan, E.J. (2002). Hazing and the making of men. Bandura, A. (2002). Selective moral disengagement in the exercise of moral agency. Journal of Moral Education, 31, 2. Janssen, J. (2003). The team captain’s leadership manual. Milburn, M. (2002). “The Psychological Underpinnings of Hazing.” Presented at “Hazing in Schools and Youth Groups” conference, Chelsea, MA. June 15, 2002.


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