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Dear Family of Lehigh Students,

The experience of coming to college can be both an exciting and stressful time for students. Whether your student is new or returning to campus, the first few weeks are when everyone is adjusting into their routines and making important connections. These connections help students find their place at Lehigh University and are often made through organizations and sports teams. Involvement can be a positive and beneficial experience by helping students develop essential skills to be successful after college. However, as we have seen in news headlines across the country, the process of joining teams and organizations can bring the potential for hazing. Here we will share with you what hazing is, how to talk to your student about it, how to identify warning signs of hazing, and what steps to take if you suspect it.

Hazing: The Basics

What is Hazing?

Click here to learn more about Lehigh University's stance on hazing, national and local statistics, different types of hazing, and the associated harms. 

Lehigh's Hazing Prevention Efforts

Lehigh is a member of the Hazing Prevention Consortium.  The Hazing Prevention Consortium is a multi-year research-to-practice initiative led by StopHazing, Inc. to build an evidence base for hazing prevention on college campuses in the U.S. and beyond. 
Please review our research and strategic plan for more information.

Talking to Your Student About Hazing

Please recognize that students go through many natural and normal changes during their college experiences. For many students, coming to college is the first time they have been independent; some of your students' attitudes and behaviors may naturally change. As students grow, it is possible for the parents and students to have emotional growing pains. In the information below you will find common warning signs that hazing may be occurring and what steps to take from there. Family are important allies to have when it comes to hazing prevention. Here are a few tips that might help when talking to your student:

  • Remember, your student is an adult
  • Your student is probably a little different than when in high school
  • People communicate differently
  • Listen to what your student says
  • Treat you student with respect

SOURCE: [adapted from] Florida State University

Warning Signs

Despite our best efforts to prevent hazing on campus and in our community, we look to parents, family members, and friends to alert us of any concerns related to hazing. Some warning signs to look for in your student if he/she/they is joining a student organization, fraternity, sorority, or sports team include:

  • Sudden change in your student's communication with you, including frequency, length and general tone, surrounding the time the student is joining the group
  • Sudden change in willingness to share the activities he/she/they is involved in with the organization
  • Changes in sleeping and eating patterns
  • Feeling anger, confusion, embarrassment, helplessness, anxiety and even depression
  • Sudden changes in academic performance
  • Complaint of new physical ailments - exhaustion, broken bones, sprains, cuts, burns, hangovers, or stomach or head aches, and reasoning of how the injuries happened that don't quite seem to make sense
  • Feel a sense of loyalty to the group and avoid sharing their concerns or fears with anyone for fear the group might get in trouble
  • Discussion of wanting to leave the organization/team but being scared or feel there is no way out

SOURCE: [adapted from] Drexel University and Furman University

Next Steps

If you suspect your student is being hazed, below is a list of questions and statements you can start with:

  • Let your student know you care about him or her
  • Are you okay?
  • Address your concern
  • Are you in the process of joining any club/group/organization/team on campus? If so, what group?
  • What types of activities do you do with a club/group/organization/team?
  • Are you being forced to do anything unreasonable?
  • Do you feel deprived of any necessity (food, shelter, sleep)?
  • Is there alcohol involved with any activities?
  • If you want to learn more, there is a university website that can help 

SOURCE: [adapted from] Florida State University

Important Information and Resources