Hazing Policy

The purpose of this policy is to ensure that students at the University of Mary Washington are not subjected to hazing. Hazing is an unproductive and hazardous activity that has no place at the University of Mary Washington, either on or off campus. Hazing is injurious to the individuals involved, and to the University itself.

This policy applies to all individuals and recognized groups associated with the University of Mary Washington, including, but not limited to, administrators, coaches, faculty, organization advisors, staff, students, athletic teams and clubs, bands, and student organizations.

As it is impossible to anticipate every situation that could constitute hazing, this list does not, and cannot, encompass every circumstance that will cause the University to discipline individuals or groups for hazing. This policy is not intended to prohibit the following conduct:

1. Customary athletic events, contests, or competitions that are sponsored by the institution, or the organized and supervised practices associated with such events; or

2. Any activity or conduct that furthers the goals of a legitimate educational curriculum or extracurricular program, as approved by the University.

Hazing shall include, but not be limited to, forcing, compelling, requiring, encouraging, or expecting, whether direct or implied, any individual to participate in any of the following actions or activities:

1. Paddling;

2. Kidnapping;

3. All forms of physical activity which are used to harass, punish, or harm an individual;

4. Excursions or road trips;

5. Confinement;

6. Spraying, painting, or pelting with any substance;

7. Burying in any substance;

8. Nudity with the intent to cause embarrassment;

9. Servitude;

10. Exposure to uncomfortable elements;

11. Verbal abuse;

12. Wearing, in public, of apparel which is conspicuous and/or indecent;

13. Forcing consumption of alcohol or any other substance, legal or illegal;

14. Depriving students of sufficient sleep (six consecutive hours per day is normally considered to be a minimum);

15. Burning, branding, or tattooing any part of the body;

16. Psychological hazing, defined as any act which is likely to:

a. Compromise an individual’s dignity;

b. Cause an individual embarrassment or shame;

c. Cause an individual to be the object of malicious amusement or ridicule; or

d. Cause an individual emotional distress;

17. Interrogating an individual in an intimidating or threatening manner;

18. Misleading prospective members in an effort to convince them that they will not become members unless they complete tasks, follow instructions, or act in a certain way;

19. Misleading prospective members into believing that they will be hurt during induction or initiation;

20. Carrying any items (shields, paddles, bricks, hammers, etc.) that serve no constructive purpose or that are designed to punish or embarrass the carrier;

21. Blindfolding and parading individuals in public areas, blindfolding and transporting in a motor vehicle, or privately conducting blindfolding activities that serve no constructive purpose;

22. Binding or restricting an individual in any way that would prohibit them from moving on their own; and

23. Requiring or suggesting that an individual obtain or possess items or complete tasks in an unlawful manner (i.e. for a scavenger hunt).

Hazing also includes soliciting, directing, aiding, or otherwise participating actively or passively in the above acts.

This policy encompasses all acts of hazing that occur whether on or off campus. As such, an act of hazing by an individual or organization will be viewed by the University as a violation of its hazing policy, regardless of where the act of hazing took place.

An individual may not consent to being hazed, and a victim’s voluntary or willful participation in hazing activities will not be considered as a defense against a violation of the University’s hazing policy by an individual or organization.

The University of Mary Washington urges all members of the University to promptly report all hazing incidents online.

Hazing, as defined in this statement, is prohibited under the Code of Virginia as well as by the University’s policies. Any individual or organization found to be in violation of this policy shall be subject to appropriate disciplinary action in accordance with applicable law.

§ 18.2-56 of the Code of Virginia states:

“It shall be unlawful to haze, or otherwise mistreat so as to cause bodily injury, any student at any school, college, or university.

Any person found guilty thereof shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor, unless the injury would be such as to constitute a felony, and in that even the punishment shall be inflicted as is otherwise provided by law for the punishment of such a felony.

Any person receiving bodily injury by hazing or mistreatment shall have a right to sue, civilly, the person or persons guilty thereof, whether adults or infants.

The president, or other presiding official of any school, college, or university, receiving appropriations from the State treasury shall, upon satisfactory proof of guilt of any student found guilty of hazing or mistreating another student so as to cause bodily injury, expel such student so found guilty, and shall make report thereof to the attorney for the Commonwealth of the county or city in which such school, college, or university is, who shall present the same to the grand jury of such city or county convened next after such report is made to him.”

I. Responsibility of individuals and organizations

Hazing is prohibited by the Code of Conduct. Both individuals and organizations may be held responsible for their actions and participation in incidents of hazing. If an investigation concludes that an individual or individuals directed, engaged in, aided or otherwise participated in, actively or passively, an incident of hazing, disciplinary action may be imposed against the individual(s). If the investigation concludes that an organization knowingly permitted, authorized, or condoned hazing, disciplinary action may be imposed against the entire organization.

II. Retaliation

It shall be a violation of this policy for an individual or organization to retaliate against a student or other person for reporting a suspected incident of hazing or cooperating in any investigation or disciplinary proceeding regarding an incident of hazing. Harassment and/or intimidation of a member of a conduct body prior to, during, and/or after a conduct proceeding are prohibited by the Code of Conduct.

III. Amnesty

Any student who reports a hazing incident in good faith, or any student victim of hazing who participates in an investigation or in a conduct hearing related to the reported incident, will not be charged with any other Code of Conduct violations that may have occurred as a direct result of the reported incident. For example, a student who was forced to consume alcohol as part of the reported incident will not be charged with a violation of the University’s alcohol policy. Any student who receives amnesty under this policy still may be asked to meet with an administrator to discuss the incident outside of the formal conduct process. Also, if the incident occurred off campus and any student was arrested or cited by law enforcement, this amnesty policy does not excuse that student from the off-campus consequences of that arrest or citation, including compliance with summonses, cooperating with courts in the City of Fredericksburg, and paying any fines or penalties.

Hazing Policy Violations at UMW

The following table presents statistics concerning students or student organizations found in violation of UMW’s Hazing Policy, or in violation of federal or state laws pertaining to hazing:

Academic Year:


  • Fall 2018 — Zero (0) violations of UMW’s Hazing Policy, or of federal or state laws pertaining to hazing
  • Spring 2019 — Zero (0) violations of UMW’s Hazing Policy, or of federal or state laws pertaining to hazing


  • Fall 2019 — Zero (0) violations of UMW’s Hazing Policy, or of federal or state laws pertaining to hazing
  • Spring 2020 — Zero (0) violations of UMW’s Hazing Policy, or of federal or state laws pertaining to hazing


  • Fall 2020 — Zero (0) violations of UMW’s Hazing Policy, or of federal or state laws pertaining to hazing
  • Spring 2021 — Zero (0) violations of UMW’s Hazing Policy, or of federal or state laws pertaining to hazing