Monday, June 27, 2011

Hazing at UNH

Pop quiz. A UNH organization was just suspended for hazing that involved underage drinking, saran wrap, blindfolds, and telling their subjects they weren't allowed to talk. Was this organization:

A) A fraternity
B) A sorority
C) Actually just members of my apartment
D) CommUNHiversity, the student organization dedicated to bettering the UNH community.

Ding! Ding! Ding! If you guessed (D), CommUNHiversity, you are right! You're either really good at picking out obvious irony or you remember the fact that they were under review and had to cancel their "UNH Best Dance Crew" event.

Thanks to an anonymous tipster, I was able to get the full PDF on the organization's disciplinary hearing. Although, it doesn't not say what exactly was done, the explanations to the charges and the board's rulings sheds some light onto the situation.

Since I can't upload the entire PDF to Blogger, below are the screen grabs of the entire document that I was sent. (Click to enlarge).

If you don't feel like reading through all of it, here are a few of the basics:
  • Found responsible of hazing, coercion, intimidation, providing and use of alcohol for those underage and hosting a gathering where illegal drinking occured
  • Younger members where blindfolded and saran wrapped by seniors and apparently put into cars that were said to be "speeding and swerving"
  • Members could opt out, but they felt peer pressure not too
  • They are on organizational suspension through May of 2012
  • They are on probation through May of 2014
  • They did not receive further penalties in fear that the organization would completely dissolve

So there you have it. Ask and you shall receive. It took a while for this report to come out and for me to get a hold of it, but thanks to a great source the entire UNH community can now see where CommUNHiversity went wrong. Honestly, I think that it is too bad that an organization like this, one dedicated to bettering the UNH community, improving school spirit and basically being all about UNH would pull off these events. CommUNHiversity has really grown since they started just a few years ago, I remember when it was just a Facebook group trying to get more students to attend basketball games and things like that. They put on UNH's Best Dance crew two years ago and it was great. Hopefully this won't be the demise of the organization, because it has potential to do great things on campus. Also, hopefully this will be a lesson to other organizations, if you haze and intimidate kids there is a decent chance that someone might turn you in. I'm sure stuff like this happens often (and I've heard of other things like this involving rush events), but it's almost too bad that this type of organization is the one that gets caught.

I'm sure some people will point a finger at whoever turned them in, but say what you want, hazing is a serious offense. And I don't buy it for a second that the leaders "didn't think it would be hazing." This has hazing written all over it, it is blatantly obvious.

According to the UNH Greek and MUB Hazing Prevention Agreement, which applies to all UNH organizations and teams: “Student hazing” is defined as “any act directed toward a student, or any coercion or intimidation of a student to act or to participate in an act, when (1) such act is likely or would be perceived by a reasonable person as likely to cause physical or psychological injury to any person; and (2) such act is a condition of initiation into, admission into, continued membership in or association with any organization.” The implied or expressed consent of any person toward whom an act of hazing is directed is not a defense to a charge under this anti-hazing statute.

Members weren't forced to do these things, but it is obvious there was at least some degree of intimidation and pressure involved. So other UNH organizations, think before you do things like this. Sure it may be all fun and games, but in the end, is it really worth it? Have fun and party, but leave it at that.

Stay classy, not UMassy.


  1. good stuff. its summer and still killing

  2. I personally think being blindfolded in a car swerving and stuff would be kinda fun.

    Anyways, sucks for them. They asked for it, though.

  3. so what happens to the kids spear-heading these hazing stuff? sounds like a slap of the wrist by only having to take an educational class

  4. Bob Woodward over here.

    Not to condemn them to broadly, but many of the founding members of Communhiversity were leaders in Freshman Camp, which was dissolved by UNH for repeated reports of hazing. I don't know how many of the people are the same, but it seems like some bad ideas were handed down. Hopefully the MUB and Conduct realize that these students need to be educated about how you build a passionate, dedicated core of leaders, rather than just sticking them with a bunch of restrictions and advisers, which is what they did with Freshman Camp.

  5. @Bob Woodward

    I don't think a lack of passion and dedication (which is somewhat implied by saying that they need to build those two qualities) is the problem. It's the manifest of that passion and dedication that is the problem. They need that corrected, as well as several other gaps filled in their current conception of what it is to run an org (and they especially need an understanding of what hazing is), but I think a complete re-education in the UNH disciplinary system idea of what "passion and dedication" are would rob the org of its soul, and you might as well just abolish it at that point.

  6. Tim,

    I think was a bit unclear. I know that the current leaders of Communhiversity are passionate and dedicated. The question the faced is, how are they going to pass the dedication on. That is the idea behind hazing(unless they just like to watch the new kids sweat). Things like giving new members responsibilities, having them shadow established members, were they doing these things? Why did they think the hazing was necessary? If there was a reason, the administration would do better by figuring that out and replacing it than putting them on probation, or sticking them with a useless adviser, or just getting rid of the group, tactics they usually try that do not solve anything.

    (Apparently, I am Bob Woodward, though that was originally meant as compliment to TNHite's muck-raking tenacity.)

  7. Big fan of the blog, but none of you have any idea what you're talking about when it comes to this situation. That is all, thank you.

  8. So the entire disciplinary report tells us absolutely nothing of the situation? at the very least commUNHiversity f'ed up bad and got caught...

  9. Anonymous @ 11:45 -

    If you know more than us, why don't you share with us? We can all agree we all want to know the whole, "true" story.

  10. canthavefunanymore?July 3, 2011 at 3:42 PM

    One person in the group complained. Most people like playing games and partying with their friends. One bitch didnt like it and ruined it for everybody. UNH administration made an example out of the org.

    New Hampshirite, You should not condemn the org to say they had it coming. While at the same time say you guys like to party (underage drinking). its the same thing.

  11. The same thing, really?

    Drinking underage and blindfolding/saran wrapping people is not the same thing. There's a difference and you got to draw the line somewhere.

    Sure, it isn't that bad, but it still classifies as hazing which is the easiest way for an org to get busted at UNH.

  12. @canthavefunanymore

    That's a pretty classic/cliche defense of hazing behavior. If ComUNHversity's defense was that "nobody else seemed to mind" I can see why they lost.

    There's a difference between inviting new and younger members to an org party, and singling them out to be "initiated," or whatever you want to call it. If they show up, just treat them like everybody else.

    What's disturbing to me is that not only are the students' names whited out — but so are the advisors and the judicial board. Shouldn't we be able to know the people who are handing out our punishments?

  13. I just want to clarify that I didn't white out the names or anything. That was how I received the report.