Hazing Defined, Massachusetts Law, and Harvard College Policies

Hazing Defined

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 269, Section 17-18, defines hazing as:

Section 17. “Any conduct or method of initiation into any student organization, whether on public or private property, which willfully or recklessly endangers the physical or mental health of any student or other person. Such conduct shall include whipping, beating, branding, forced calisthenics, exposure to the weather, forced consumption of any food, liquor, beverage, drug or other substance, or any other brutal treatment or forced physical activity which is likely to adversely affect the physical health or safety of any such student or other person, or which subjects such student or other person to extreme mental stress, including extended deprivation of sleep or rest or extended isolation.

Notwithstanding any other provisions of this section to the contrary, consent shall not be available as a defense to any prosecution under this action.”

Section 18. "Whoever knows that another person is the victim of hazing as defined in section seventeen and is at the scene of such crime shall, to the extent that such person can do so without danger or peril to himself or others, report such crime to an appropriate law enforcement official as soon as reasonably practicable. Whoever fails to report such crime shall be punished by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars." 

Harvard College Policies

Regulations regarding Hazing at Harvard College can be found on the Handbook for Students. 

Non-Hazing Attestation Form

All student organizations or teams, both recognized and unrecognized (e.g. club sport teams, fraternities, sororities, and final clubs), must sign and return the non-hazing attestation form to the Office of Student Life located at University Hall, Ground Floor South. The form must be completed and returned by September 25th each year.

Officer Contact Information

All student organizations (both recognized and unrecognized) must provide the Office of Student Life with contact information for all undergraduate officers by September 25th each year.