Whether you’ve joined a sports team or a fraternity/sorority, hazing
is part of the initiation process. Although it is generally considered
harmless fun in order to help build camaraderie, hazing that gets out
of hand typically leads to death or serious bodily harm.
The following are three main forms of hazing:
Subtle hazing – This type of hazing refers to activities that are considered “harmless,”
“meaningless,” or taken for granted, but neglect mutual respect
and lead to embarrassment and ridicule. Common examples include requiring
new members to greet each member in a specific way, carry certain items
for older members, or otherwise perform certain tasks for the benefit
of older members.
Harassment hazing – This type of hazing causes stress and confuses new members, resulting
in physical discomfort and/or emotional anguish. Common examples include
yelling or screaming, intimidation and interrogation, wearing embarrassing
apparel, being forced to pull pranks, or being dropped off in a specific
location and forced to find a way back.
Violent hazing – This type of hazing results in physical, psychological, and emotional
injury. Common examples include forced consumption of alcohol or liquids,
forced sexual activity, complete or partial nudity, “paddling”
or whipping, branding, or kidnapping.
According to Wisconsin law, it is illegal to intentionally and recklessly
endanger a student’s wellbeing to initiate them into an organization.
In addition, just because a student consents to hazing, doesn’t
make it legal.
If hazing leads or is likely to lead in injury, it is a Class A misdemeanor,
which is punishable by a jail sentence of up to nine months and/or a maximum
$10,000 fine. If hazing results in great bodily injury, it is a Class
H felony, which carries a maximum three-year prison term and/or a fine
not exceeding $10,000. If hazing causes someone’s death, it is a
Class G felony, which results in a maximum 10-year prison term and a fine
no more than $25,000.
Merely being accused of hazing can result in significant damage to your
personal life and professional reputation. You could get suspended or
expelled from school, lose your job, or be shunned by the entire community—all
before a conclusion of the case is reached.
If you have been charged with hazing in Milwaukee,
schedule a free consultation with the
Law Offices of Christopher J. Cherella today.