Community Standards

Definitions and Policy


Union College’s definition of hazing includes, but is not limited to, activities that would fall within the New York State Penal Code Law definition of hazing as defined below. In accordance with Union College policy hazing means any action taken or situation created as an explicit or implicit condition for initiation into, admission into, affiliation with, or continued membership in a group, club, organization, fraternity or sorority, or athletic team (hereinafter collectively referred to as “organization” unless otherwise noted) that:

  • could be seen by a reasonable person as endangering the physical health of an individual or causing mental distress to an individual through, for example, humiliating, intimidating, or demeaning treatment;
  • destroys or removes public or private property;
  • involves the consumption of alcohol or drugs, or the consumption of other substances;
  • disrupts College or community activities;
  • engages in morally degrading or humiliating games or activities; or
  • violates any College policies, regardless of the consent of the new member(s) or whether or not the activity is presented to the member as optional.
    • Such activities may include, but are not limited to:
      • Line ups
        • Wearing of apparel in public which is conspicuous and not in good taste
        • Forced chores
        • Forced, or strongly encouraged drinking
        • Keeping individuals awake
        • Paddling in any form
        • Branding
        • Kidnapping

Acceptance of an Activity; "Voluntary" Behavior

The definition of hazing applies whether or not the participants or others perceive the behavior as “voluntary.” The implied or expressed consent of any person toward whom an act of hazing is directed is not a defense.

Assertions that the conduct or activity was not part of an official organizational event or was not officially sanctioned or approved by the organization are also not a defense. This definition applies to behavior on or off College property or organizations premises.


Retaliating directly or indirectly against a person who has in good faith filed, supported, or participated in an investigation of a complaint of hazing as defined above is prohibited. Retaliation includes but is not limited to ostracizing the person, pressuring the person to drop or not support the complaint or provide false or misleading information, or otherwise engaging in conduct that may reasonably be perceived to adversely affect that person's educational, living, or work environment. Depending on the circumstances, retaliation may also be unlawful, whether or not the complaint is ultimately found to have merit.