Hazing Prevention at WSU

WSU takes hazing and hazing prevention very seriously. We follow Sam's Law and encourage all groups to participate in healthy activities that foster connection and community without intimidation or fear.

Sam's Law

Sam's Law requires all public colleges and universities in the state of Washington to establish a hazing prevention committee to increase transparency about hazing education and intervention (see below). It also increases the penalties for hazing: under Sam's Law, hazing is a gross misdemeanor instead of a lower-level misdemeanor, and incidents involving death or “substantial bodily harm” could be charged as a felonies.

The law is named after Sam Martinez, a first-year WSU student who died in a hazing-related incident in 2019. For more information about Sam's Law, visit the Washington State Legislature website.

Hazing Prevention Committee

WSU's Hazing Prevention Committee reviews and provides feedback on programs related to WSU’s hazing prevention efforts across the system. The committee consists of 12 members and includes students, faculty and staff, and a parent of a current student. You can learn more about the committee's work and membership on the website.

If you're interested in joining the effort to prevent hazing at WSU, fill out the Hazing Prevention Committee application.

Healthy Group Activities 

For many groups, initiations and bonding rituals are important to creating a sense of community among members. Initiations and other activities are fine as long as they are voluntary and don't involve any hazing behaviors.

If your group is looking for a way to connect, try one of these activities: 

  • Have new members opt in to playing a favorite sport or activity (for example, frisbee or video games) against current members, with no penalties for losing 
  • Host a talent show 
  • Try the UREC challenge course 
  • Participate in a service project together (get ideas from CCE)
  • Host a quiz night to review knowledge about your organization's history and values (with no penalties for incorrect answers)

Remember: a healthy group bonding activity does not cause physical, emotional, or mental harm and is completely optional.


Consequences of Hazing

The state of Washington has a no-tolerance hazing law (RCW 28B.10.900) that requires specific consequences for hazing:

  • Organizations that knowingly permit their members to conduct hazing and/or are found responsible for hazing are required to lose recognition from the university
  • Any student who participates in hazing can forfeit their right to state-funded grants, scholarships, or awards for a period of time

WSU may also impose additional sanctions, including:

  • An educational paper or project
  • Probation, with a probation statement

For more information, see the student handbook.