Fraternity Bullying

Fraternity bullying has serious consequences. If you need a lawyer for a fraternity bullying case, Mullen Law Firm may be of service to you. Call us for consultation today.

What Is Fraternity Bullying?

Students in college face challenging coursework, grow as people, and make lifelong friends. Many students join fraternities to find friends and share experiences. However, there’s a problem that’s not as obvious as it seems: fraternity bullying.

In contrast to bullying, fraternity hazing rituals are often sanctioned by student groups. Parents may feel reluctant to intervene since they may consider it part of the tradition associated with formal education. This guide discusses bullying in fraternities, why it occurs, and what we can do about it.

Contact the Mullen Law Firm if you or someone close to you is dealing with extreme levels of bullying. Our experienced defamation lawyers are available to help you.

Fraternity Bullying and Hazing

Power differences and intimidation factors characterize both bullying and hazing. In both situations, the perpetrator has significant power and control over the target, while the target has none. In some cases, hazing’s purpose is not to bring everyone closer but to intimidate newcomers and make them feel inferior.

As a result, hazing is considered a form of bullying. However, there are some subtle differences between hazing and bullying.

Hazing occurs in different groups, including clubs, sports teams, fraternities, and official organizations. It typically takes place when new members join the group. Unlike bullying in a more general sense, where one person picks on another, fraternity bullying is more complex. It often happens during initiation events in which the whole group participates.

The act of hazing can also be physically dangerous since it involves getting others to do things that can harm them, even if they are not willing to do so. Spreading rumors and harassing someone can also be considered hazing. The activity often leaves them feeling embarrassed, disrespected, mistreated, or even in danger. 

Types of Fraternity Hazing

It is essential to recognize that fraternity bullying comes in various forms, and each type impacts the person being bullied. Calling someone a name or using hurtful language is one form of fraternity bullying.

The bullying can also take a physical form. It can involve assigning physically demanding tasks to the victim or even causing physical harm to the victim.

Additionally, there is psychological bullying, which involves isolating people, exerting control over them, and spreading untrue stories about them.

Specific common forms of hazing include the following:

  • Beating, branding, or cutting body parts
  • Name-calling
  • Exposure to the elements
  • Forced consumption of foods or liquid
  • Forced confinement
  • Forced nudity
  • Pressure to commit a criminal act
  • Pressure to commit a degrading act
  • Requiring embarrassing behavior
  • Sex acts
  • Sleep deprivation

Factors Contributing to Fraternity Bullying

There are many reasons why fraternity bullying keeps happening on college campuses. Some people want to fit in and gain group acceptance by maintaining old customs and following the group’s rules. Therefore, they take part in bullying. Hazing is also seen as a way of testing loyalty, so new members tend to keep quiet, perpetuating the cycle.

In addition, fraternity hazing or bullying is often done in private and masked in humor, so it is difficult to outsiders to know exactly what is happening in the fraternity.

Common Signs of Fraternity Bullying

Detecting the effects of fraternity bullying in college students might be more challenging than detecting bullying in school children. However, there are some emotional and behavioral indicators of bullying, including the following:

  • Changing sleep and eating patterns
  • Antisocial behavior
  • Frequent emotional outbursts and mood swings
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Being withdrawn and displaying signs of depression.
  • Unexplainable physical injuries

What Is the Anti-Hazing Act?

Unlike many states, New Jersey has clear rules and penalties governing hazing. If hazing results in death or serious injury, it becomes a criminal offense with severe penalties. 

The Anti-Hazing Law was created in response to an increase in hazing incidents, including hazing deaths. Its purpose is to prevent hazing-related problems.

According to New Jersey state law 2C:40-3, hazing occurs if:

  • An individual who knowingly or recklessly facilitates, promotes, organizes, or engages in conduct that could result in bodily harm to another person, except in competitive athletic events.

  • The actions are taken to initiate members or applicants to student or fraternal organizations.

When the hazing activities result in serious bodily harm, the charges are elevated to aggravated hazing.

These regulations do not apply to the following contests, competitions, or events:

  • Customary athletic events

  • Law enforcement training

  • Military training

Penalties for Hazing Perpetrators

New Jersey law distinguishes between hazing and aggravated hazing. Hazing charges under the first section of the statute are disorderly persons offenses. A conviction for a disorderly persons offense can result in up to 6 months in jail and up to a $1,000 fine.

Aggravated hazing is a fourth-degree offense and is a felony. If convicted, an accused could spend up to 18 months in prison. A fourth-degree offense is also punishable by fines of up to $10,000.

The court can also impose probation, community service, drug testing, and other requirements. Any probation violation can result in jail time up to the maximum sentence allowed under the offense if the person is sentenced to probation instead of jail.

Most institutions have zero-tolerance policies regarding bullying and harassment. Students involved in bullying and/or hazing incidents may face harsh sanctions, including suspension and expulsion. In addition, the university may also require the student to seek counseling and/or attend educational programs about the negative effects of bullying and hazing.

Bullying in Fraternities: Consequences for Victims

Fraternity bullying has long-term and far-reaching effects on the victims. These effects can last a lifetime and lead to depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. It can also affect academic performance and lead to a lack of trust in relationships.

Are You a Victim of Hazing? Mullen Law Firm Can Help.

If you are being bullied, you may feel isolated. You may think that there is no way out. However, you are not alone, and there are people who can help and support you. Mullen Law Firm is dedicated to defending the rights of people who have been unfairly treated.

We believe it is essential for those responsible for fraternity hazing to be held accountable for their actions. Our top-rated school bullying lawyers can help you take legal action against those who bully you as well as against the institution. Our team can assist you with drafting a well-written cease and desist letter.

We understand how overwhelming and traumatic the experience of hazing can be. We want to help you fight back and get the justice you deserve. With our experience in this area, we can help you.

Let us help you start fighting against fraternity bullying. Call us today. We look forward to hearing from you.

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