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Texas A&M University Stop Hazing Initiative

Hazing is not an Aggie Tradition

Members of organizations that haze may hold a range of views about their practices. If your organization hazes, you may support those practices, oppose them, or have a mixture of feelings.  Some members of groups that haze say that one of the biggest barriers to changing their practices is that they don't know what else to do to accomplish their goals.  

We offer this site as an opportunity to encourage dialogue about alternatives to hazing.

Why Look for Alternatives?  

Some students who haze contend that hazing results in positive outcomes for the group (e.g., increased closeness), the individuals who are hazed (e.g., personal growth from overcoming challenges), and the persons who do the hazing (e.g., pride in continuing traditions). But these positive outcomes can be achieved through non-hazing activities that avoid the negative effects that often result from hazing.  

Positive Strategies for Achieving Group Unity  

Strong group unity and a sense of individual accomplishment are important for groups throughout society to achieve. Many businesses, for example, invest considerable resources to foster effective group processes and enhance individual motivation. And they generally do so through positive, encouraging strategies that build people up rather than tearing them down.  

Carrying Constructive Strategies Forward in Life  

Let's say you are a proponent of hazing. Now imagine that you have graduated and are in your first job as a sales representative for a major corporation. At a staff meeting your boss asks for suggestions on how to strengthen the functioning of the sales team. You recommend that he blindfold the team members, make them form a line, and then scream insults and threats at each of them. Would you argue that such an exercise would lead to increased sales? Wouldn't it be better if you could recommend a set of constructive, group-building strategies that you learned as a member of a group while in school?  

Is Failure to Change a Failure of Imagination?  

Some members of groups that haze say that one of the biggest barriers to changing their practices is that they don't know what else to do that would accomplish their goals. On one hand, if the desired goals include making others endure the pain and degradation you went through, then there are no real alternatives. On the other hand, if the goals are to increase group unity, promote individual growth, instill positive values, and foster an identity with the group, then there are options. Employing alternatives to hazing doesn't mean holding hands in a circle singing Kumbaya. A program of activities aimed at replacing hazing will likely need to incorporate some level of challenge or intensity. It may also need to incorporate non-hazing mechanisms of self-governance for holding new members accountable to the expectations of the group.  

Organizations that do not haze can play an important role in stopping hazing on campus. Here are some ways that your group can help:  


  • Develop a non-hazing policy statement and share it with prospective and new members. Communicate openly and up front that you do not haze.
  • Speak out in public settings against hazing, such as meetings and conferences. Being vocal and visible in your opposition to hazing will help shift the campus culture towards less tolerance for hazing.
  • Consider a non-secret approach to your initiation. Even some groups that do not haze nonetheless like to keep their practices secret. But being open about your practices would help contribute to a climate of openness on campus that would challenge the secrecy that perpetuates hazing.
  • Offer to advise other groups who are looking for guidance in developing non-hazing approaches to initiation. Send your ideas for non-hazing activities to for possible inclusion in our list of alternatives to hazing.
  • Be vigilant in monitoring the evolution of your own practices, especially if your organization has engaged in hazing in the past. Maintaining a non-hazing approach requires ongoing attention, especially as membership changes over time.


Ideas to help your group find alternatives to hazing