Antihazing Regulations

The University of Pennsylvania is a scholarly community. Each member of our community is expected to respect the rights of others to participate in the academic and social life of the University. Hazing is inconsistent with the goals and purposes of the University and is explicitly forbidden.  The following Regulations apply to all University students and student groups, irrespective of whether those groups are recognized, registered, or identified as being affiliated with the University.

I. Hazing: Definition

A. For purposes of these Regulations, and consistent with the Anti-Hazing Law of Pennsylvania, hazing means any action or situation (1) which recklessly or intentionally endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student or (2) which willfully destroys or removes public or private property for the purpose of initiation or admission into or affiliation with, or as a condition for continued membership in, an organization operating under the sanction of, or recognized, registered, or identified by the University including, without limitation, fraternities and sororities ("organization"). For purposes of these Regulations, any activity as described herein upon which the initiation or admission into or affiliation with or continued membership in an organization is directly or indirectly conditioned, regardless of whether that organization is recognized by or registered with the University, shall be presumed to be "forced" activity, the willingness of an individual to participate in such activity notwithstanding.

B. Examples of types of prohibited behavior follow. These examples are merely illustrative of specific forbidden practices and are not intended to be all inclusive.

  1. Any brutality of a physical nature, such as whipping, beating, branding, forced calisthenics or exposure to the elements.
  2. Forced consumption of any food, liquor, drug, or other substance, or any other forced physical activity which could adversely affect the physical health and safety of the individual.
  3. Any activity which would subject the individual to extreme mental stress, such as sleep deprivation, forced exclusion from social contact, forced conduct which could result in extreme embarrassment, or any other forced activity which could adversely affect the mental health or dignity of the individual.
  4. Any willful destruction or removal of public or private property.
  5. Placing a member or pledge in a situation of actual or simulated peril or jeopardy.
  6. Undignified stunts or methods, either private or public and/or any ordeal that is in any respect indecent or shocking to moral or religious scruples or sensibilities.
  7. Kidnapping and paddling.

C. There are time and place limitations on all organization activities related to new member orientation, pledging, and initiation. For purposes of this section, orientation or pledging activities include anything expected or required of an applicant or new member in an organization. 

  1. There shall be no orientation or pledging activities between midnight and 8:00 a.m. Sunday through Thursday. This rule will be strictly enforced.
  2. Orientation and pledging activities shall not occupy more than ten hours per week, excluding study hours and community service.
  3. Orientation or pledging activities must not disrupt educational and other activities of the University community nor damage University property.  

Fraternity and sorority pledging activities must follow these additional limitations:

  1. The length of pledging shall be limited to six weeks according to a calendar set by the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life.
  2. Pledging practices such as raids, treasure hunts and scavenger are prohibited. The College Houses, in particular, are off limits to the pledge activities of organizations.

Pledges may not travel as part of pledging activities. The Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life must approve in writing any exceptions. Approval may be granted only when the trip has been sanctioned by a national office (or national/ regional designee) of the fraternity or sorority, when adequate funds, transportation and supervision are provided, and when the purpose of the trip is of a constructive nature.

II. Penalties

Penalties for engaging in hazing activities include University sanctions against individuals and organizations, and criminal sanctions under state law.

A. Individuals
All students, whether or not they are affiliated with an organization, are governed by the Guidelines on Open Expression and the Code of Conduct.

Infractions of the Anti-Hazing Regulations are subject to sanctions described in the Charter of the Student Disciplinary System. These sanctions include the following: warning, reprimand, fine, restitution, disciplinary probation for a specified period, withdrawal of privileges, indefinite probation (i.e., probation whenever and as long as the respondent is a full- or part-time student at the University), term suspension (ordinarily not to exceed two years), indefinite suspension with no automatic right of readmission, or expulsion.

B. Organizations

  1. All organizations are subject to sanctions including loss of University facility use privileges, loss of Student Activities Council recognition and funding, and referral to the Office of Student Conduct.
  2. In addition, all fraternities and sororities are governed by the University policy entitled "Recognition and Governance of Undergraduate Social Fraternities and Sororities" (the "Recognition Policy"). For infractions of the Anti-Hazing Regulations above, the fraternity or sorority is subject to sanctions as set forth in the Recognition Policy. These sanctions include administrative warning, chapter probation, suspension of University recognition, and withdrawal of University recognition. The national fraternity of any chapter found to have violated these Anti-Hazing Regulations will be notified.

C. Criminal and Civil Liability

In addition to the sanctions described above, a student or organization may be subject to civil liability or to criminal liability under Pennsylvania's Anti-Hazing or other laws.

Updated March 20, 2018; Almanac, March 20, 2018