POL-U7100.04 Preventing and Responding to Incidents of Hazing (Interim Policy)

Dates and Approval

Effective Date:

October 19, 2022

Revised Date:

March 28, 2024

Approved by:

President Sabah Randhawa

Who does this policy apply to?

 This policy applies to all University employees, students, and certain volunteers as defined by this policy.


Western is committed to a safe and respectful learning environment for its students and does not tolerate hazing by any individual, organization, or group. This policy outlines Western’s expectations related to hazing awareness training and reporting to University officials in accordance with Sam’s Law RCW 28B.10.900 - 908.

Sam’s Law is named in honor of Sam Martinez, a 19-year-old Washington State University student who died as a result of hazing while pledging a fraternity in 2019 and emphasizes accountability and hazing prevention education.



Employee includes both permanent and temporary classified and professional staff, faculty, and student employees


See Section 1 of the policy below.


A University volunteer with direct ongoing contact with students in a supervisory role or position of authority.

Policy Statements

1. Western Washington University Strictly Prohibits Hazing

Consistent with state law, no student, or other person in attendance at any public or private institution of higher education, or any other postsecondary educational institution, may conspire to engage in hazing or participate in hazing of another on or off campus.

Hazing, per state law, includes any act committed as part of a person's recruitment, initiation, pledging, admission into, or affiliation with a student organization, athletic team, or living group, or any pastime or amusement engaged in with respect to such an organization, athletic team, or living group that causes, or is likely to cause, bodily danger or physical harm, or serious psychological or emotional harm, to any student or other person attending a public or private institution of higher education or other postsecondary educational institution in this state, including causing, directing, coercing, or forcing a person to consume any food, liquid, alcohol, drug, or other substance which subjects the person to risk of such harm, regardless of the person's willingness to participate. Hazing does not include customary athletic events or other similar contests or competitions.

2. Violators are Subject to Penalties

Individuals found responsible for conspiring to haze or participating in hazing are subject to applicable penalties including:

  1. Termination of employment,
  2. Academic expulsion,
  3. Punishment pursuant to the state’s criminal code,
  4. Forfeiture of entitlement to state-funded grants, scholarships, or awards for a period of time determined by the University, and/or
  5. Loss of recognition or control of an organization, association, or student living group given by the University.

Any organization, association, or student living group that knowingly permits hazing is strictly liable for harm caused to persons or property resulting from hazing. If the organization, association, or student living group is a corporation, whether for profit or nonprofit, the individual directors of the corporation may be held individually liable for damages.

3. Western will Maintain an Educational Program for Students

The University shall provide students with an educational program on hazing and the dangers of and prohibition on hazing, which shall include information regarding hazing awareness, prevention, intervention, and the institution's policy on hazing.

The educational program will be part of new student orientation and be posted on Western’s website for parents, legal guardians, and volunteers to view. University materials on student rights and responsibilities given to student organizations, athletic teams, or living groups, either electronically or in hard copy form, shall include a statement on:

  1. Western’s antihazing policy
  2. Student Conduct Code
  3. The angers of hazing
  4. Criminal penalties for hazing

4. Employees and Certain Volunteers are Required to Complete Hazing Awareness Training

All employees, including student employees and applicable volunteers, are required to complete hazing awareness training on the signs and dangers of hazing and their duty to report incidents. The training is to be completed annually at the beginning of each academic year and for new employees at the beginning of each academic term, including summer term. Employees will be notified via email with information on how to access the training. Supervisors of volunteers are responsible for following the Volunteer Registration steps to ensure their volunteers have access to and complete the training.

5. Employees and Volunteers Have a Duty to Report Suspected or Known Hazing Incidents

If an employee, including a student employee or a registered volunteer, observes or receives information in the course of their employment or volunteer service and has reasonable cause to believe that hazing has or will occur, they are to report the incident directly to or cause a report to be made to the Office of Student Life at the first opportunity to do so. Reasonable cause means a person who witnesses hazing or receives a credible written or oral report alleging hazing or potential or planned hazing activity. See Section 6 below for employees exempt from reporting requirements.

Office of Student Life
Phone:         360.650.3706
Email:           student.life@wwu.edu
Online:          Reporting Form (https://osl.wwu.edu/reporting-concern-or-complaint)

Nothing in this section shall preclude a person from independently reporting hazing or suspected hazing activity to law enforcement.

University Police
Emergency Phone: 360.650.3911 or 911
Non-emergency Phone:  360.650.3555

A person who witnesses hazing or has reasonable cause to believe hazing has occurred or will occur and makes a report in good faith may not be sanctioned or punished for the violation of hazing unless the person is directly engaged in the planning, directing, or act of hazing reported.

6. Certain Employees are Exempt from Reporting Requirements

An employee acting within the scope of their duties as a confidential employee is not required to report under this policy if doing so would violate their professional confidentiality obligations. These employees, including but not limited to, health care providers, mental health counselors, and other staff within health care-related clinics, are considered “confidential employees” under Sam’s Law.

7. Department Heads Must Ensure Volunteers Register with Human Resources

To ensure that volunteers who are covered under this policy are identified, department heads must require volunteers to register with Human Resources before performing any duties. Human Resources will direct them to the hazing training.

8. Western will Maintain a Hazing Awareness Committee

The University will maintain a hazing prevention committee to promote and address hazing prevention. The committee membership will have representation as required by RCW 28B.10.905 including a designated chair appointed by the University President.

A student who is a member of a student organization, athletic team, or living group that was affiliated with a finding of a hazing violation within the last twelve months may not participate in or be a member of the hazing prevention committee.

9. Western will Maintain Public Report of Hazing Violations

Western will maintain and publicly report actual findings of violations of the code of conduct, antihazing policies, or state or federal laws relating to hazing or offenses related to alcohol, drugs, sexual assault, or physical assault by any Western student organization, athletic team, or living group, in accordance with RCW 28B.10.906.

Policy Information


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