SLI groups release reports
Looking to broaden the College's definition of hazing beyond minimum legal requirements and overt physical harm, a committee, chaired by Senior Associate Dean of the College Dan Nelson, released its proposal for a new hazing policy.
The new proposed policy claims to take a much larger view of hazing, defining it as "any action taken or situation created as part of initiation to or continued membership in a student organization." It includes activities, which produce or could be expected to produce mental or physical discomfort, harm, or stress; embarrassment; harassment; or ridicule or which violate College policy, fraternal/sororal policy, or law. The policy applies to behavior on or off College or organization premises.
Such a policy, Nelson said, met the committee's goal of developing a hazing policy that would better fit Dartmouth's needs.
These proposed changes come in response to the Student Life Initiative and the Board of Trustee's expressed desire last April to "prohibit hazing of new members and any abusive or demeaning initiation rites, and develop a hazing policy that is more stringent than current College policy."
Though Dartmouth's current hazing policy takes into account New Hampshire State law, Nelson feels that the College's definition of hazing needs to be expanded beyond minimum legal requirements.
"The existing policy really focuses on physical harm," Nelson said. "[The new policy] provides a much broader and more detailed definition of hazing."
While the new policy expands upon the College current definition of hazing, it does not stipulate any particular activities that would be deemed punishable by the College.
According to Nelson, actions that could potentially be considered hazing, such as wearing name-tags and carrying lunch boxes, would be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
"Students ... will be making their own individual judgements," Nelson said.
While the policy did not specify any specific activities it did say that "however, almost anything that new members are required to do that is not required of more senior members is likely to constitute hazing."
While Nelson said that the input of various members throughout the Dartmouth community played a large part in the drafting of the new policy, he added that the committee also looked toward hazing policies of other colleges and universities for inspiration.
Nelson added that, comparatively, Dartmouth has a more lenient hazing policy than the guidelines set forth by other institutions.