Hazing

Hazing Policy

It is the policy of the Vermont State Colleges (VSC) that no member of the VSC community may participate or be involved in hazing. A student or employee will be subject to disciplinary action for: (1) engaging in hazing; (2) soliciting, directing, aiding or abetting, or attempting to aid or abet another person engaged in hazing; and (3) knowingly failing to take reasonable measures within the scope of the person’s authority to prevent hazing. It is not a valid defense against charges of hazing that the student against whom the hazing was directed consented to or acquiesced in the hazing activity.

Definitions

"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 which is affiliated with the Vermont State Colleges or any member College thereof; and which is intended to have the effect of, 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. Hazing also includes soliciting, directing, aiding, or otherwise participating actively or passively in the above acts. Hazing occurs regardless of the consent or willingness of a person to participate in the activity. Hazing may occur on or off the campus of a member College of the Vermont State Colleges. Hazing shall not include any activity or conduct that furthers legitimate curricular, extracurricular, or military training program goals, provided that:

  1. the goals are approved by the member College; and
  2. the activity or conduct furthers the goals in a manner that is appropriate, contemplated by the member College, and normal and customary for similar programs at other educational institutions.

"Organization" means an athletic team, association, corporation, order, society, corps, cooperative, club, or other similar group, whose members primarily are students at a member College, and which is affiliated with the College. 

"Pledging" means any action or activity related to becoming a member of an organization. 

"Student" means any person who:

(A) is registered in or in attendance at a member College;
(B) has been accepted for admission at a member College where the hazing incident occurs; or
(C) intends to attend a member College during any of its regular sessions after an official academic break.

Interpretation of Policy

This policy is to be interpreted consistent with Vermont law.

Reports of hazing; Administrative Response; Sanctions

  1. Reports of Hazing. Member College employees are required to report possible hazing incidents in a prompt and effective manner. Students and other members of the VSC community are strongly encouraged to report possible hazing incidents. All reports of hazing should first be directed to the member College Dean of Students, or his or her equivalent, or, in the absence of the Dean, to the public safety or security office. Where the public safety or security office is notified in the absence of the Dean, the office shall notify the Dean at its earliest convenience. An investigation shall be initiated immediately and, if the report is substantiated, the Dean shall take necessary steps to stop the hazing. If the Dean or the public safety or security office believes a crime may have been or is about to be committed, and such reporting is consistent with state and federal law regarding confidentiality of student information, a report also shall be made to state or local law enforcement agencies.
  2.  Administrative Response. If after completion of the investigation the Dean concludes a violation of this policy has occurred, the student or employee discipline process, as the case may be, shall be initiated.
  3. Sanctions. Students may face discipline up to and including expulsion for hazing. Employees may face discipline up to and including dismissal for hazing. Organizations found to have knowingly permitted, authorized, or condoned hazing may face sanctions up to and including suspension or revocation. 

The University is committed to creating an atmosphere of mutual respect and trust as well as safety for all students. It provides educational programming (through offices including, but not limited to the CHANGE Initiative and the Wellness Center), procedures, and information designed to work toward eliminating sexual assault and creating a climate where victims feel safe reporting sexual misconduct including sexual assault.