A report published by the National Collaborative for Hazing Research and Prevention at the University of Maine shows that 55% of college students across the United States that participate in clubs, organizations and athletic teams are subject to hazing, with the most common forms of hazing being alcohol consumption, sleep deprivation, isolation, humiliation and sexual acts. Overall, 40% of students are aware of hazing taking place on campus, and 47% of students arrive at college having already experienced hazing. Whether you view hazing as a harmless rite of passage, deeply embedded into American culture, or as a dangerous and degrading form of abuse, an offense carries criminal penalties.
What is hazing?
Under North Carolina law, you could be found guilty of hazing if you subject a fellow student to physical harm, as part of an initiation for joining a fraternity, sorority, athletic team, or other organized group.
What kind of penalties could I face if I am found guilty?
Hazing is a Class 2 misdemeanor. This means you could face a minimum sentence of one to 30 days of community punishment, with a maximum sentence of 60 days in jail if you have had five or more prior convictions, and the possibility of a fine. In addition, having a criminal record can cause problems in other areas of life, such as getting a job or a mortgage.
What if there was consent?
Consent is no defense to a charge of hazing. If you face a civil lawsuit for hazing, however, consent could work as a defense in certain situations. However, even if someone agrees to take part in an initiation, the peer pressure placed on him or her to agree means that it may not be true consent.
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