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Motting and Hazing Prevention Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose and Context

(1) Western Sydney University is committed to ensuring a safe, healthy and welcoming learning and work environment for its students and staff, where students and staff treat each other with dignity and respect.

(2) As a University, we take a serious approach to the care of our students and, because of this, behaviours and practices associated with motting or hazing (also called "bastardisation") are prohibited. Unlike other campus and community activities, these behaviours or activities are not considered healthy or safe ways to foster camaraderie and encourage participation in University life.

(3) They also constitute a failure to meet the University's standards of behaviour, which are set out in the staff Code of Conduct, the Western Sydney University Village Rules, Student Code of Conduct and Student Misconduct Rule, as well as in policies such as the Bullying Prevention Policy, and the relevant Staff Agreements. In particular, these behaviours and activities can place the health, safety and welfare of students and other people at risk in contravention of work health and safety laws.

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Section 2 - Definitions

(4) Motting or hazing involves a person subjecting another or being subjected to an activity or particular form of treatment in order to feel included as a member of a group. It is often used as a means to promote group loyalty or bonding through suffering, either alone or with others, and with or without their consent. The pressure or sense of obligation to be involved in or submit to motting behaviours or activities can be subtle or overt. It is subtle if, on the face of it, the activity or behaviour seems harmless or meaningless. However, it only serves to emphasise any power imbalance that may exist either between members within a group or between existing and potential members of a group. This is particularly so if a person fears being viewed less favourably or even ostracised by others.

(5) The following is a list of typical examples of behaviours involving motting. It is not intended as an exhaustive list and involves being put, or putting others, under any form of pressure to:

  1. consume excessive amounts of food, alcohol or other substances;
  2. consume illegal drugs or dangerous substances;
  3. be called or call others by a particular descriptive (sometimes called a "mott" name) that degrades, humiliates, ridicules or is abusive of them or another person;
  4. wear particular clothing or adopt a particular hair style or other fashion;
  5. participate in a "dare", such as wearing no clothes or stealing something;
  6. submit to a particular activity (such as sleep deprivation, curfews, line up drills, carrying objects, divesting a student of his or her possessions, damage to or destruction or theft of property);
  7. participate in or be subjected to any interference with personal liberty (for instance, locking a person up or threatening them in some way);
  8. participate in or be subjected to behaviour or an activity that involves or depicts degradation, humiliation, ridicule or abuse of others.

(6) These types of behaviour can also involve:

  1. harassment, bullying, intimidation, embarrassment or humiliation of a person;
  2. injury or death of a person;
  3. damage, destruction or loss of property.
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Section 3 - Policy Statement

(7) The University will not tolerate any behaviour or activity that involves motting, hazing, or bastardisation on the part of students, staff or visitors (including alumni) to the University, whether as supporters, organisers, perpetrators or recipients, regardless of whether these occur within University lands or at other places where the University conducts its business or activities (including, for example, student placements or field activities).

(8) Any allegations involving students or staff will be referred for investigation under the relevant policy or other instrument dealing with student or staff discipline. Any students living in Western Sydney University Village could also have their accommodation suspended or terminated.

(9) Any visitors to the University (including alumni) who engage in or support or encourage these types of behaviour or activities could be excluded from entering any University property or involvement in any University or University-related activities (such as reunions).

(10) Any motting, hazing or bastardisation behaviours or activities that involve or may involve criminal offences will be reported to the NSW Police.

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Section 4 - Procedures


(11) Any person who observes or reasonably suspects any form of motting should report it as soon as possible to Campus Safety and Security. While reports can be made anonymously, anonymity of the person reporting the behaviour cannot be guaranteed in any subsequent investigation or disciplinary hearing.

(12) Professional staff within the University's Counselling, Disability and Student Welfare Services are exempted from this reporting obligation insofar as they are bound by a professional code of conduct relating to confidentiality in the course of providing health care or other services to clients, but are subject to any legal requirement or exemption relating to confidentiality.

Assistance to Affected or Injured Students

(13) Students or staff members who observe or suspect a student may be suffering illness or injury as a result of participating in or being subjected to any form of motting are encouraged to seek assistance for that person as quickly as possible by contacting Campus Safety and Security, other members of staff or Village Resident Assistants or staff.

(14) Students or staff members providing such assistance:

  1. will not be subject to disciplinary action if they did not participate in the matter;
  2. may be subject to disciplinary action if they participated in the behaviour or activity, but the University:
    1. will take into account any assistance provided by the student or staff member; and
    2. may require the student or staff member to participate in an education program about the effects of motting.

(15) Also refer to:

  1. Student Code of Conduct
  2. Student Misconduct Rule
  3. Student Misconduct Rule - Inappropriate Behaviour Guidelines
  4. the staff Code of Conduct
  5. the current Academic Staff Agreement - Misconduct Procedures
  6. the current Professional Staff Agreement - Misconduct Procedures
  7. Bullying Prevention Policy and Bullying Prevention Guidelines.
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Section 5 - Guidelines

(16) If you are not sure whether or not something happening to you or to someone else involves motting, ask yourself these questions:*

  1. Would I feel comfortable participating in this activity if my parents were watching?
  2. Would I get into trouble if a staff member walked by and saw us?
  3. Am I being asked to keep these activities a secret?
  4. Am I doing anything illegal?
  5. Does participation in this activity violate my values or those of the University?
  6. Is this causing emotional or physical distress or stress to me or to others?
  7. Could this give me or someone else a criminal record and affect my or their ability to obtain employment?
* Adapted from Hazing Prevention Org, What hazing looks like.