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Hazing Prevention Understanding Social & Psychological Dimension of Hazing Joe Gervais, M.Ed. University of Vermont.

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Presentation on theme: "Hazing Prevention Understanding Social & Psychological Dimension of Hazing Joe Gervais, M.Ed. University of Vermont."— Presentation transcript:

1 Hazing Prevention Understanding Social & Psychological Dimension of Hazing Joe Gervais, M.Ed. University of Vermont

2 IT COULD HAPPEN.

3 IT DOES HAPPEN! UVM Hockey

4 47% of students come to college having experienced hazing behaviors.47% of students come to college having experienced hazing behaviors. 55% of college students involved in clubs, teams, and organizations experience hazing behaviors.55% of college students involved in clubs, teams, and organizations experience hazing behaviors. 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

5 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)

6 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, student clubs and 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, student clubs and organizations). What are some popular beliefs and assumptions about hazing?What are some popular beliefs and assumptions about hazing? Mythology

7 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.

8 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!

9 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

10 Psycho/Social Dynamics Psycho/Social Dynamics ►Intense desire/need to belong. Students willing and even expect initiation. ►Cognitive dissonance. Can’t change behavior, so change attitude. Speaks to conformity

11 Psycho/Social Dynamics Psycho/Social Dynamics ►Pluralistic Ignorance. No one else responds = not interpreted as problem ►Emotional displacement. Denial of emotional consequences. Pay it back to next year’s class.

12 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.

13 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”)

14 Ways we disengage morally: 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.”

15 Ways we disengage morally: 7.Dehumanization Masks, costumes, etc. Masks, costumes, etc. Dehumanizing language (rook, pledge, plebe) Dehumanizing language (rook, pledge, plebe) Perceptions of newcomers as “less-than” Perceptions of newcomers 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.”

16 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

17 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 has the effect of socially or physically isolating, humiliating, intimidating, or demeaning the student; or that can harm the mental or physical health of a student.

18 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.

19 At the University of Vermont we believe that students should not be demeaned or exposed to harm when pursuing involvement in campus life. At the University of Vermont we believe that students should not be demeaned or exposed to harm when pursuing involvement in campus life. --UVM Hazing Prevention Pledge

20 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.Would you object to the activity being photographed for the Cynic, local TV, or posted on the internet?

21 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 another student? 3.Leadership—No matter what your beliefs about hazing, policy & law prohibit the practice. Are the (questionable!) benefits worth the risk?

22 Resources

23 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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