Statutory Authority

This Pledge's Bill of Rights has been developed by the Attorney General pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A: 3-24 et seq.


For the purpose of this Pledge's Bill of Rights, a pledge is defined as any student of the college/university attempting to become a member of a fraternity or sorority or other similar campus organization.

Definition of Hazing

For the purpose of this Pledge's Bill of Rights, "hazing" shall mean:

As indicated, pursuant to the New Jersey Statute:

  • 2C: 40-3 a. A person is guilty of hazing, a disorderly persons offense, if, in connection with initiation of applicants or members of student or fraternal organizations, he knowingly or recklessly organizes, promotes, facilitates, or engages in any conduct, other than competitive athletic events, which places or may place another person in danger of bodily injury.
  • b. A person is guilty of aggravated hazing- a crime of the fourth degree, if he commits an act prohibited in subsection a., which results in serious bodily injury to another person.
  • 2C: 40-4 Notwithstanding any other provision of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes to the contrary, consent shall not be available as a defense to a prosecution under this act.
  • 2C: 40-5 Conduct constituting an offense under this Act may, at the discretion of the prosecution attorney, be prosecuted under any other applicable provision of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes: and

Other behaviors or activities in addition to those prohibited under N.J.S.A. 2C: 40 et seq.

Prohibition on Hazing

A pledge shall have the right to be free of all activities, which may constitute hazing while attempting to become a member of a fraternity or sorority, or other campus organization. Campus organizations and their members are prohibited from engaging in or encouraging others to engage in activities that are defined as hazing.

A broad range of behaviors that may place another person in danger of bodily injury or behavior that demonstrates indifference or disregard for another person's dignity or well-being may be classified as hazing under the above definition. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Forced or required ingestion of alcohol, drugs, food, or any undesirable substance
  • Participation in sexual rituals or assaults.
  • Mentally abusive or demeaning behavior.
  • Acts that could result in physical, mental, or emotional deprivation or harm.
  • Physical abuse, e.g. whipping, paddling, beating, tattooing, branding, and exposure to the elements.

Acceptable Behavior

The pledge initiation process should be conducted in a manner, which respects the dignity of pledges and protects their mental and physical well-being. Examples of acceptable behavior include pledge activities that are nor classified as hazing, but promote scholarship, promote service, develop leadership and/or social skills, assist career goals, involve students with alumni, improve relations with others, build awareness of fraternity or sorority history, instill a sense of brotherhood or sisterhood, foster solidarity or otherwise promote the institutional mission of the host college or university.

Written Notification of Rights

Institutions shall require all fraternities, sororities and other similar campus organizations to provide all pledges with a written Bill of Rights that includes the provisions set forth herein. The written Bill of Rights shall be signed by the student pledge and filed in the appropriate office of the institution.

Other Policies Governing the Rush or Pledge Process

Delineation of additional responsibilities of fraternities, sororities, and other similar campus organizations in regard to rush or pledge activities shall rest with individual institutions. As such, institutions may develop policies and regulations governing other aspects of the rush or pledge process, which may include pledge and membership education, student eligibility to pledge, limitations on the pledge period, and membership selection.

Institutions may develop policies and procedures for discipline violations of its pledge process. Institutional action on a hazing violation is independent of any action, which a prosecutor may pursue for violations under Title 2c.