The Failure of Zero-Tolerance Policies in Addressing Hazing

5 Pages Posted: 11 May 2021 Last revised: 20 Jul 2021

See all articles by Gregory Scott Parks

Gregory Scott Parks

Wake Forest University - School of Law

Date Written: May 10, 2021


Hazing has been a persistent issue over the generations and across organization-type. For many, the default solution is zero-tolerance. Zero-tolerance was originally developed as a U.S. Customs Service Policy in 1986. Attorney Peter Nunez first issued zero-tolerance policies for federal and state agencies to seize boats and vehicles transporting illegal drugs. By 1988, zero-tolerance policies were applied to a broad range of issues and conduct. Zero-tolerance is generally intended to express the unacceptance of targeted behaviors that, if committed, will be severely punished; this is no matter how major or minor. In this article, I explore the persistence of zero-tolerance policies as a remedial measure for hazing (Part I), why it is a failed approach (Part II), and how institutions and organizations could shift to a more effective approach (Part III).

Keywords: Hazing, Fraternities, Sororities, Litigation Strategy

Suggested Citation

Parks, Gregory Scott, The Failure of Zero-Tolerance Policies in Addressing Hazing (May 10, 2021). Available at SSRN: or

Gregory Scott Parks (Contact Author)

Wake Forest University - School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 7206
Winston-Salem, NC 27109
United States
3367582170 (Phone)

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