St. Olaf College

Hazing Policy

St. Olaf College offers an excellent, intensely-residential, and globally-engaged liberal arts education guided by its Lutheran tradition. A part of that mission is fulfilled by the college’s commitment to the development of students through engagement with high-impact academic, residential, and co-curricular experiences.

In keeping with its commitment to a positive academic and social environment, St. Olaf College unconditionally prohibits all hazing by students, student organizations, athletic teams and ensembles, and employees. It is the college’s expectation that new members will be welcomed into student organizations, athletic teams, and ensembles in public settings on campus, with advisors, coaches or conductors present, and that the welcoming activities will be positive and affirming

St. Olaf College interprets hazing as any willful act done by one or more individuals, whether physical, mental, emotional, or psychological, which subjects another person voluntarily or involuntarily to anything that may abuse, mistreat, degrade, humiliate, harass, ridicule, intimidate, or endanger that person, or which may in any fashion compromise their dignity as a person. Such activities and situations include, but are not limited to:

  • Physical contact or punishment, exercise, or sleep deprivation that causes excessive fatigue and/or physical and psychological shock
  • Coerced or forced consumption of food, drink, alcohol, tobacco, illegal drugs
  • Coerced or forced transportation of individuals
  • Public test, humiliation, ridicule, indecent exposure, nudity
  • Coercing or forcing illegal acts
  • Forcing, requiring, or pressuring the participation in any activity that is unlawful, perverse, publicly indecent, or contrary to the individual’s moral beliefs
  • Interfering in an individual’s academic, athletic, health, or personal success
  • Personal servitude to others
  • Mental harassment
  • Sexual harassment
  • Collective behavior such as marching, dressing alike, line-ups, etc.
  • Tattooing or branding
  • Deception or threat contrived to convince a new member that they will not be permitted to join or that their continued participation is doubtful
  • Threat of social exclusion
  • Any activity that involves the use of alcohol or any controlled substance in violation of the college’s Alcohol and Other Drug Policy or the laws of the State of Minnesota
  • Any activity that is not in accordance with the college’s established policies

In addition to the foregoing, it is a violation of this policy for any student or employee of St. Olaf to participate in or fail to report any known or suspected incidents of hazing.

Hazing often occurs for the purpose of being initiated into, affiliating with, holding office in or maintaining membership in a given organization. An individual subjected to hazing may not be aware that what is occurring constitutes hazing or may not feel empowered to refuse participation. Perceived, implied or expressed consent to hazing does not make it acceptable under this policy.

For the purpose of clarity, the college offers two guidelines for returning members to keep in mind as they welcome new members and introduce them to the group, team, organization, or ensemble:

  • Any activity or practice that new members are required or encouraged to participate in by virtue of their status as a new member presumptively constitutes hazing.
  • Any activity or practice that is considered a “tradition” should be examined in light of the guidance given above. “Tradition” is not a justification for hazing.

Anonymous Reporting

Anyone may report hazing anonymously by calling the Campus Conduct Hotline: 866-943-5787.

Voluntary Reporting of Hazing

Policy Exception for Students Reporting Hazing

A student who reports activity that may fall within the definition of hazing and who cooperates fully as a witness in any investigation into allegations of hazing will have exception from the St. Olaf disciplinary sanctions related to the hazing even if his or her own conduct violated the hazing policy, unless the conduct the student engaged in caused physical harm or violates the policy on sexual misconduct. This exception applies only to the St. Olaf College Code of Conduct, and does not extend to violations of applicable laws.

Organizational Exception for Hazing

Members of an organization, group, or team who are concerned that some of the organization’s activities do not comply with St. Olaf’s hazing policy should consult the Dean of Students Office.

An organization that fully discloses past or recent behavior in violation of the Hazing Policy will receive assistance as the group develops a new plan to replace the activities in question. With this disclosure, the organization will not face college disciplinary action for the activities disclosed, unless the conduct engaged in caused physical harm or violated the policy on sexual misconduct. This exception applies only to the St. Olaf College Code of Conduct, and does not extend to violations of applicable laws.

These instances are one-time-only exceptions to the St. Olaf College Code of Conduct.

Official Reports and Investigations of Hazing

Students have the right and are encouraged to file a complaint of hazing at any time, regardless of when the incident occurred.

Any instance of suspected hazing should be reported to the Dean of Students Office (507-786-3615). If deemed appropriate, charges will be made and college disciplinary procedures followed. Disciplinary action may be taken against individuals and/or groups.

Individuals or groups found in violation may be subject to the following sanctions:

  • Written reprimand
  • Appropriate educational tools (such as reflection papers, counseling, letters of apology, and directed study)
  • Probation
  • Loss of Season/Performances/Recognition
  • Suspension of Activity
  • Any other disciplinary action the college deems appropriate

Retaliation              

Retaliating directly or indirectly against a person who has reported known or suspected hazing, or who has participated in an investigation of a complaint of hazing, is strictly prohibited. Retaliation includes but is not limited to ostracizing the person, pressuring the person to drop or not support the complaint or to provide false or misleading information, or otherwise engaging in conduct that may reasonably be perceived to affect adversely that person’s educational, living, or work environment.

A Note for Student Leaders

The opportunity to be a leader at St. Olaf College can be one of the defining aspects of your experience in college. Team captains, music ensemble officers, and club sport or organizational leaders develop skills that serve them throughout their lives, and set the stage for lifelong friendships.

The challenge that accompanies this role is that leaders are held to a higher standard by peers, conductors, coaches, advisors, and the college. When hazing occurs in an organization, leaders often become the focus of the issue, and they are held to account for the actions of those they lead. Leaders may be held individually responsible as well.

The following are resources that will help student leaders understand the challenges and responsibilities of the role, and will provide ways to lead and build a cohesive unit without hazing.