October 2, 2017


SUBJECT:    University Policy on Hazing

The University of California San Diego is committed to providing a safe educational environment for everyone and does not tolerate hazing by any group or individual. The University expects that all students and registered student organizations will observe and fully comply with state law, Regents' policies, University regulations, and administrative rules associated with the prohibition of hazing.


In 2006, California enacted “Matt's Law”, which makes some forms of hazing a felony criminal offense. The law was named after Matt Carrington, a 21-year-old student at California State University, Chico, who died at a local fraternity house after being forced to participate in a hazing ritual. Matt’s Law (California Penal Code Section 245.6) defines hazing as:

“Any method of initiation or pre-initiation into a student organization or student body, whether or not the organization or body is officially recognized by an educational institution, which is likely to cause serious bodily injury to any former, current, or prospective student of any school, community college, college, university, or other education institution in this state.”

The UC San Diego Student Conduct Code also prohibits hazing. The Code applies to alleged incidents of hazing, whether they occur on or anywhere off campus, by individual students and/or Registered Student Organizations, and prohibits the following:

“Participation in hazing or any method of initiation or pre-initiation of potential, new, or active members into a registered student or other campus organization or other activity engaged in by the organization or its members at any time that causes, or is likely to cause, physical injury or personal degradation or disgrace resulting in psychological harm to any student or other person.”


There are three general categories of hazing: “subtle hazing,” “harassment hazing,” and “violent hazing.” The following is a list of examples from each of these categories. This list is not meant to be all-inclusive, but it provides common examples of hazing traditions that violate the Student Conduct Code and may also be charged as a criminal offense depending on the circumstances.

Subtle hazing consists of behaviors that emphasize a power imbalance between new members/rookies and other members of the group or team. Examples include:

· Personal servitude (e.g. forcing another person to wash cars, carry books and equipment, cook meals, clean rooms, etc.);

· Requiring new members/rookies to memorize information not explicitly required by the national new member process;

· Socially isolating new members/rookies;

· Requiring new members/rookies to refer to other members by titles (e.g., “Mr.,” “Sir”, “Miss”); and

· Expecting certain items to always be in a new member’s/ rookie's possession (e.g., pledge pins, hats, new member binder).

Harassment hazing consists of behaviors that cause emotional anguish and/or physical discomfort in order to feel like part of the group. Examples include:

· Requiring new members/rookies to wear embarrassing or humiliating attire;

· Forced/coerced participation in calisthenics, push-ups, sit-ups, running, or other strenuous activities;

· Tuck-ins;

· Required participation in quests, scavenger/treasure hunts, or road trips;

· Sleep deprivation; and

· Other potentially degrading activities such as line-ups, mock trials, or interrogations.

Violent hazing consists of behaviors with the potential to cause physical (as well as psychological/emotional) harm. Examples include:

· Forced or coerced consumption of food, liquid, alcohol, controlled substances, or other substances;

· Physical abuse (e.g., pushing/hitting, paddling, exposure to cold/heat);

· Verbal threats;

· Public nudity; and

· Member ditches, “drop-offs”, abductions, or kidnapping.


Matt’s Law provides that hazing that results in death or serious bodily injury may be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor and may result in one year or more of imprisonment, as well as criminal probation, community service, and fines of up to $5,000. This does not preclude an individual from being charged with additional criminal offenses (e.g., an incident of “violent hazing” may also lead to charges for assault and battery). In addition, a civil action may be brought by the victim or the victim’s family against the organization and its individual members. Principal members of student organizations may be held personally liable for money damages. Matt’s Law gives prosecutors the authority to charge anyone with hazing, not just currently enrolled students or registered student organizations.


If individual students and/or Registered Student Organizations accept responsibility or are found responsible for hazing under the Student Conduct Code, the typical sanction includes suspension from UC San Diego or dismissal from the University of California system. Other sanctions may include non-academic disciplinary probation, probation, exclusion from University activities or grounds, mandatory community service and educational intervention program participation.

Any violation of the Student Conduct Code by Registered Student Organizations will result in publication of the violation(s) on the Office of Student Conduct website, including a short summary of the incident, the alleged violation(s), and the applicable sanctions. This information is publicly accessible at


To report an act of hazing, anonymously if you choose, visit or email For further information or to clarify what activities are considered hazing and are prohibited by California Law or University policy, contact the Office of Student Conduct (858-534-6225), the Center for Student Involvement (858-534-0501), or Student Legal Services (858-534-4374).

Juan C. González
Vice Chancellor -
Student Affairs