Memorandum on Hazing Law
This spring, the 86th Texas Legislature passed S.B. 38 authored by Senator Judith Zaffirini, to update Texas law on hazing.
This new legislation includes changes to criminal prosecution for hazing offenses, as well as changes to how Texas universities and colleges inform students and report on hazing incidents. Wayland Baptist University is compliant with the new legislation enacted on January 1, 2020, as required by the law.
It is important to know that hazing is not just a violation of university rules; hazing is a crime. Under the law, a hazing offense can be committed not only by engaging in a hazing activity, but also by soliciting, directing, encouraging, aiding or attempting to aid another in hazing; by intentionally, knowingly or recklessly allowing hazing to occur; or by failing to report, in writing to the Executive Director of Student Services or another appropriate official of the institution, first-hand knowledge that a hazing incident is planned or has occurred. The fact that a person consented to or acquiesced to a hazing activity is not a defense to prosecution for hazing under the law.
In an effort to encourage reporting of hazing incidents, the law allows immunity from civil or criminal liability to be granted to a person who voluntarily reports a specific hazing incident in good faith to Executive Director of Student Services or other appropriate institution official before being contacted by the institution regarding the incident, and who fully cooperates with any institutional process related to said incident.
Anyone with knowledge of potential hazing should report it as soon as possible.
The law defines hazing as any intentional, knowing or reckless act, occurring on or off the campus of an educational institution, by one person alone or acting with others, directed against a student, for the purpose of pledging, being initiated into, affiliating with, holding office in or maintaining membership in any organization whose members are primarily students at an educational institution, if the act:
- is any type of physical brutality, such as whipping, beating, striking, branding, electronic shocking, placing of a harmful substance in or on the body, or similar activity;
- involves sleep deprivation, exposure to the elements, confinement in a small space, calisthenics, or other similar activity that subjects the student to an unreasonable risk of harm or that adversely affects the mental or physical health or safety of the student;
- involves consumption of food, liquid, alcoholic beverage, liquor, drug or other substance, other than as described in Paragraph (E), that subjects the student to an unreasonable risk of harm or which adversely affects the mental or physical health or safety of the student;
- is any activity that induces, causes, or requires the student to perform a duty or task that involves a violation of the Penal Code; or
- involves coercing, as defined by Section 1.07, Penal Code, the student to consume:
- a drug; or,
- an alcoholic beverage or liquor in an amount that would lead a reasonable person to believe that the student is intoxicated, as defined by Section 49.01, Penal Code.
University Disciplinary Rules
The law does not affect or limit the right of the university to enforce its own rules against hazing.
Disciplined Organizations, Including Those Resolved Via Mutual Agreements
In accordance with requirements of the Texas Education Code Section 51.936(c) prior to the passage of S.B. 38, the following organizations have been disciplined for hazing and/or convicted for hazing, on or off campus, during the preceding three years:
Organizations With Resolved Discipline Within The Preceding Three Years