How to Recognize Hazing

Some hazing incidents take place in the middle of Harvard Yard and are obvious. Students dressed in bathing suits in the middle of winter is just one blatant example. But most hazing is likely to happen behind closed doors1. Even if you yourself do not witness hazing, there may be some signs that someone you know is being hazed. The following observations should be cause for concern and may indicate that a friend, classmate, or neighbor is the victim of hazing2,4:

  • Intoxication or other impairment (especially at odd hours of the day)
  • Unexplained disappearances in the middle of the night
  • Obvious fatigue (e.g. falling asleep in section)
  • Bruises or other injuries
  • Inappropriate or unusual dress
  • New tattoos, other marks, or shaved heads
  • Reduced contact with friends or block-mates
  • Sudden loss of enthusiasm for school, a sport, or other activities
  • Unexcused absences from class
  • Late or missing coursework

If you think someone you know may be hazed, you may consider talking with your proctor or tutor about it. You may also consider support resources at Harvard to discuss what to do about these alleged hazing practices.


  1. Campo, S., Poulos, G. & Sipple, J. (2005). Prevalence and Profiling: Hazing Among College Students and Points of Intervention. American Journal of Health Behavior, 29(2), 137-149.
  2. Lipkins, S. (2006). Preventing hazing: How parents, teachers, and coaches can stop the violence, harassment, and humiliation. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  3. Guynn, K.L. and Aquila, F.D. (2004). Hazing in high schools: Causes and consequences. Bloomington, Indiana: Phi Delta Kappa Educational Foundation.
  4. Finkel, M.A. (2002). Traumatic injuries caused by hazing practices. AJEM, 20(3), 228-233.