Hazing involving West Chester University students or student groups is strictly prohibited. Hazing is defined by the State of Pennsylvania Law (Act 175) as any action or situation that recklessly or intentionally endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student for the purpose of initiation or admission into or affiliation with any organization operating under the sanction of an institution of higher education. The term shall include, but not be limited to, any brutality of a physical nature, such as whipping, beating, branding, forced calisthenics, exposure to the elements, forced consumption of any food, liquor, drug or other substance, or any other forced physical activity that could adversely affect the physical health and safety of the individual and shall include any activity that would subject the individual to extreme mental stress, such as sleep deprivation, forced exclusion from social contact, forced conduct that could result in extreme embarrassment, or any other forced activity that could adversely affect the mental health or dignity of the individual.
For purposes of this definition, any activity as described in this definition that the initiation or admission into or affiliation with an organization is directly or indirectly conditioned shall be presumed to be "forced" activity, the willingness of an individual to participate in such activity notwithstanding.
In addition, the following specific actions and activities are strictly prohibited and include but are not limited to:
- Causing excessive physical fatigue through physical and psychological shocks;
- Forcing, requiring, or endorsing calisthenics, such as sit-ups, push-ups, and runs;
- Conducting a new member-related activity between the hours of midnight and 7 a.m. or awakening individuals during these hours;
- Forcing, requiring, or endorsing less than seven continuous hours of sleep for associates/pledges each night;
- Pushing, shoving, tackling, paddle swats, or any other act that may cause harm;
- Forcing, requiring, or endorsing pledges/associate members to drink alcohol, take any illegal drugs, or eat any food or other substance;
- Dropping food (e.g., eggs, grapes, liver, etc.) into mouths;
- Forcing, requiring, or endorsing branding, scarring, or tattooing;
- Throwing anything (whipped cream, garbage, water, paint, etc.) at or on an individual;
- Forcing, requiring, or endorsing theft of any personal property under any circumstances;
- Assigning or endorsing "pranks" or harassing another organization;
- Forcing, requiring, or endorsing the defacing of trees, ground, or buildings on or off campus;
- Conducting unauthorized quests, treasure hunts, scavenger hunts, paddle hunts, big sister/brother or little sister/brother hunts;
- Forcing, requiring, or endorsing the carrying of items that will interfere with daily activities;
- Conducting activities that do not allow adequate time for study during the pledge period;
- Yelling and screaming or directing negative comments at associates/pledges;
- Deceiving new members prior to the ritual designed to convince an associate/pledge that he/she will not be initiated or will be hurt;
- Forcing, requiring, or endorsing the playing of extremely loud music or music repeated over and over, or any other audible harassment;
- Not permitting pledges/associate members to talk for periods of time;
- Forcing, requiring, or encouraging nudity at any time;
- Messing up the house or a room for the associate members/pledges to clean;
- Forcing, requiring, or endorsing the running of unreasonable personal errands (servitude);
- Forcing, requiring, or endorsing engagement in unauthorized activity that involves compelling an individual or group to remain at a certain place or transporting anyone anywhere, within or outside the Borough of West Chester (drop offs, kidnaps, etc.);
- Forcing, requiring, or endorsing engagement in public stunts and shenanigans;
- Forcing, requiring, or endorsing shaving of head or body hair;
- Forcing, requiring or encouraging pledges/associate members to act like animals or other objects;
- Wearing public apparel that is conspicuous and not "normally" in good taste.
In addition to the above stipulations, West Chester University's Anti-Hazing Policy also includes the following regulations:
- Individuals and/or student organizations that force, require, and/or endorse violations will be held directly responsible through the University's judicial process and if appropriate, through local authorities, which may pursue criminal action.
- The negligence or consent of a student or any assumption of risk by the student is not a defense to an action brought pursuant to this policy.
- Any student organization wishing to proceed with a membership intake process must first get approval from the director of Greek life and/or the director of student leadership and involvement.
- No Intake activities are permitted during official holiday or break days, including but not limited to fall break, Thanksgiving break, winter break and spring break.
- Pledging programs must not interfere with the rights and activities of others and should always reflect the best interests of the members of the organization it represents and the University community as a whole.
- In all cases of alleged violations of this policy, faculty and alumni advisers and the national/international headquarters of any organization will be notified.
- Members of student organizations having pledge periods and pledges must file Anti-Hazing Compliance Forms with the director of student leadership and involvement or designee (located in 238 Sykes Union within three days of the start of the pledge program).
- All BLGC, IFC and Panhellenic recognized student organizations must complete their pledge/new member programs within seven weeks or less in any given semester. All other student groups must complete their programs within a maximum of eight weeks from start to initiation.
- Pledge programs and initiations must end, at a minimum, fourteen days prior to the start of final examinations. Copies of the comprehensive Anti-Hazing Compliance Forms are available in the Office of Student Leadership & Involvement, 238 Sykes Union. Specific questions regarding the Anti-Hazing Policy may be directed to the director of student leadership and involvement or designee.
- Organizations wishing for an exemption, on any portion of the Anti-Hazing Policy as it reads, should schedule a meeting with the Director of Student Leadership & Involvement or designee to discuss the policy issues that are of concern and the rationale for exemption. In the event the issues are not resolved at this stage, the student group may formally apply for an exemption through the Office of the Assistant Dean of Student Involvement.