Hazing Education, Prevention and Reporting at UCSF

Each member of our UCSF community is valued and deserves an educational and social environment that is inclusive, safe, and supportive. As a part of creating this environment, UCSF community members must be able to recognize hazing, understand the harm it can cause, and know how to report concerns to the university. Hazing has no place at UCSF, and we are committed to ensuring our students have access to healthy, welcoming spaces to live, learn, and grow.

What is Hazing?

“Hazing is any activity expected of someone joining or participating in a group that humiliates, degrades, abuses, or endangers them regardless of a person’s willingness to participate” (Allan & Madden, 2008).

When does an activity cross the line into hazing?

The following three components are key to understanding hazing:

  • Group context: Associated with the process for joining and maintaining membership in a group.
  • Abusive behavior: Activities that are potentially humiliating and degrading, with potential to cause physical, psychological and/or emotional harm.
  • Regardless of an individual’s willingness to participate: The “choice” to participate may be offset by the peer pressure and coercive/power dynamics that often exist in the context of gaining membership in a group.

Is this Hazing? - Questions to Ask Yourself

  • Am I comfortable participating in this activity?
  • Would someone find participating in this activity embarrassing?
  • Would I feel proud telling my faculty member/ clinic director/ advisor about this activity?
  • Am I being asked to keep these activities a secret?
  • Am I doing anything illegal?
  • Does participation in this activity violate my values or those of this organization?
  • Is this activity causing emotional or physical distress or stress to myself or to others?

The Spectrum of Hazing





  • Deception
  • Assignment of demerits
  • Silence periods with implied threats for violation
  • Social isolation of new members
  • Use of demeaning names
  • Expecting certain items to always be in one's possession


  • Verbal abuse
  • Threats or implied threats
  • Asking new members to wear embarrassing attire
  • Skit nights with degrading or humiliating acts
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Sexual simulations


  • Forced alcohol or drug consumption
  • Beating, paddling, or other forms of physical assault
  • Branding
  • Forced ingestion of vile substances
  • Water intoxication
  • Abduction / kidnapping
  • Sexual assault




Allan, 2015; Allan and Kerschner, 2020; adapted from Bringing in the Bystander

Alternatives to Hazing

  • Have the members of your group/organization work together on a community service project.
  • Develop a peer mentor program within your group for leadership roles.
  • Invite professionals in your field into the organization to share their experiences.
  • Plan special events or get-togethers for all members to attend a movie, play, or event.
  • Plan a “membership circle” when actives and new members participate in a candlelight service in which each person has a chance to express what membership means to them.
  • Offer study hours for members of your organization.

StopHazing Research Lab. (2021). Building Healthy Groups and Teams: Group goals and activities to promote belonging, well-being, and inclusion. StopHazing Consulting. https://stophazing.org/resources/alternatives

Learn More About Hazing from the Student Life Team


Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities, Becca Wallace, shares information about UCSF’s hazing policies and how to report hazing.