Hazing on Campuses in Texas

Numerous youngsters perceive university as a big step and may find it scary. They may be far from their parents for the first time. In a new town without family, it’s normal to want to fit in with friends. However, it may be quite harmful when the events meant to unite people end up turning into violent crimes.

Hazing on campus is a practice used mostly by fraternities, sports, and student organizations to test or challenge freshmen and has been around for a while. It’s considered a traditional custom by some. It used to be accepted and even viewed as a way for new fraternity members to show their dedication. However, it’s not acceptable in many schools today, and it’s even against the law in Texas.

How Texas Defines Hazing

The Stop Hazing Org describes the term “hazing” as any activity expected of someone joining or participating in a group that humiliates, degrades, abuses, or endangers them, regardless of a person’s willingness to participate.

The summary of Texas Education Code Chapter 37 regarding the elements of hazing includes:

  1. Participates in hazing.
  2. Supports, directs, assists, or attempts to aid others in hazing.
  3. Carelessly allows hazing to take place without considering the dangers.
  4. If someone has direct knowledge of a specific hazing incident being planned involving a student in an educational institution and has direct knowledge that such an incident has occurred but knowingly doesn’t report this information in writing to the school’s dean or the appropriate school official.

Hazing on Campus: Consequences and Penalties

Hazing can happen anywhere, and Texas has had its own hazing problems. For instance, the 2017 death of a prominent student named Matthew Ellis drew national attention to the issue. This sad event led to talks about making stricter anti-hazing rules in Texas colleges.

In 2019, the Texas Anti-Hazing Law (SB 38) was enacted, thus establishing it as a felony to engage in hazing that results in serious bodily injury or death. Furthermore, here are the key penalties associated with hazing on campus in Texas:

  • Class B Misdemeanor: 

Hazing activities that do not result in physical harm or serious bodily injury are classified as Class B misdemeanors. This offense can result in a fine of up to $2,000 and a jail sentence of up to 180 days.

  • State Jail Felony:

If hazing leads to serious bodily injury, it is classified as a state jail felony. This is a more serious offense and can result in a more substantial fine and longer imprisonment.

Enhanced Penalties of Hazing on Campus:

Accusations of hazing can bring both legal consequences and school discipline. Your school may also apply these penalties:

  • Disciplinary probation
  • A formal warning
  • Losing on-campus housing privileges
  • Losing financial aid
  • Losing a scholarship
  • Cutting funding for a group
  • Temporary suspension
  • Permanent expulsion

Arrested? Don’t Plea, Call Me!

What you do and say when you first find out you’re being investigated by your school can seriously impact the outcome. With increased attention on how they handle disciplinary issues, especially hazing on campus, the risk of losing control of the situation has gone up. Additionally, law enforcement is now charging students involved in hazing. That’s why it’s vital to talk to an experienced student defense assault lawyer who deals with conduct code issues as soon as possible if you’re accused of hazing at your college or university.