Hazing activities are illegal in the state of Florida, prohibited by University policies and regulations, and an affront to our institutional values and character. UWF seeks to prevent students from experiencing hazing by educating the campus community, promptly addressing alleged hazing activities and fostering a culture of mutual responsibility.
Hazing means any action or situation, which occurs on or off university property, that recklessly or intentionally endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student for purposes including, but not limited to:
(i) Initiation into any organization operating under the sanction of a postsecondary institution;
(ii) Admission into any organization operating under the sanction of a postsecondary institution;
(iii) Affiliation with any organization operating under the sanction of a postsecondary institution; or
(iv) The perpetuation or furtherance of a tradition or ritual of any organization operating under the sanction of a postsecondary institution.
To learn more about hazing rules, definition, reporting, rights and the University’s response to potential or alleged hazing activities, check out the Hazing Prevention FAQs section.
Laws, Policies, and Regulations
Hazing Prevention Initiatives
Hazing Prevention Online Modules
All new UWF students are expected to complete Hazing Prevention 101—College Edition prior to the start of their first semester at UWF. This evidence-based course teaches students how to recognize, prevent and report hazing. In addition to the 101 course, students also complete courses designed with specific programs in mind, including Fraternity and Sorority Life, Athletics and more.
Take the course
Student Organization Requirements
Per UWF/REG—3.018, student organizations/groups must educate their respective members on an annual basis regarding applicable University Regulations concerning hazing, and all registered student organizations must include UWF’s Anti-Hazing Regulation as part of the organization’s bylaws or governing documents. Student organization/group leaders can contact firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance regarding these requirements.
Hazing Prevention Week
National Hazing Prevention Week (NHPW), hosted each September, is an opportunity for campuses, schools, communities, organizations and individuals to come together and talk about hazing in their communities, raise awareness about the problem of hazing, educate others about hazing and promote the prevention of hazing.
Students have multiple options for reporting hazing activities. Per UWF/REG - 3.018, individuals who have knowledge of planned, ongoing, or past hazing activities, on or off-campus, should notify the Dean of Students Office or UWF Police. All forms of hazing are ultimately harmful to students and to our campus community—help us protect your friends and classmates by reporting concerning activities.
- Call UWF Police at 850.474.2415 24 hours a day.
- Submit an Incident Report Form to the Dean of Students Office.
- Submit a UWF Police Silent Witness Form if you wish to remain anonymous. However, please note that reports submitted anonymously are often more difficult to investigate and confirm because the University is not able to seek follow-up information from the reporting party. If you prefer to submit a Silent Witness Form, please provide as much information as possible.
Hazing Prevention FAQs
Yes. Per the regulation and state statute, “It is not a defense to a charge of hazing that: The express or implied consent of the victim had been obtained or that the individuals(s) willingly participated.”
Yes. Per the regulation and state statute: “It is not a defense to a charge of hazing that: The conduct or activity that resulted in the death or physical/mental injury was not done as a condition of membership or affiliation with the organization or group.” Hazing victims often go along with a prohibited activity, even when it is not explicitly required, because they feel that not participating will undermine their standing with the group.
Organizations and groups can be held responsible for hazing activities and other activities, such as events with alcohol, even if the event or meeting is not officially sanctioned and registered by the organization. The question to ask is, “Would a reasonable observer describe this activity as being conducted by or on behalf of the organizations?” The number and makeup of members involved, the use of organization channels to communicate information about the activity and the nature of the activity may result in the determination that the activity constitutes an organizational activity. It is possible for individual members of an organization to engage in hazing activities without the knowledge or consent of the organization at-large. In these cases, the organization should immediately report the activity or risk of being held responsible.
Organizations AND individual students may be charged and sanctioned for a single hazing activity.
No. Activities that endanger the mental health or dignity of a student may constitute hazing. Examples might include sleep deprivation, causing a student to be embarrassed or humiliated, deceiving an individual in a way that instills fear or paranoia, social isolation, berating behaviors or other activities that could adversely affect the student’s mental health.
In addition, activities that involve students in servitude, lewd acts, behaviors that violate University policies and illegal acts may constitute hazing.
Yes. By failing to intervene, you may be found to be complicit in an activity that recklessly or intentionally endangers others. Per the regulation: “Hazing also includes observation of hazing activities by Bystanders, defined as individuals in a position to intervene, but who fail to intervene.”
Per the regulation, “Individuals who are victims of hazing and who truthfully report the activities shall not be individually charged with a violation of this regulation in relation to that incident. Individuals who have knowledge of or witnessed a hazing incident but who did not participate and truthfully report the activities shall not be individually charged with a violation of this regulation in relation to those particular or related incidents." However, depending on the circumstances, to the extent the conduct violates state law, the provisions of Florida Statute 1006.63 may apply.
In short, UWF students should always prioritize the health of others regardless of concerns regarding potential conduct infractions or violations. Many students nationwide would be alive today if their peers had called for medical assistance instead of worrying about being held responsible for their actions.
However, the University and the State of Florida recognize that accommodations should be made for those students and organizations that do the right thing in difficult situations. Per the regulation, “The University may grant immunity to a Student, Student Organization, or Student Group for conduct that may violate this Regulation or the Student Code of Conduct that meets the criteria set forth in Florida Statute 1006.63 (11)(a) and (12) known as Andrews Law or pursuant to University Policy SA-22.03-05/15, Policy on Student Organizations, or as determined appropriate by the University.”