A recent press report reveals an incident at Louisiana State University in which one of the school's fraternities engaged in serious incidents of hazing during the traditionally bizarre fraternity initiation rites of so-called Hell Week. Everyone knows that fraternity and sorority initiations can get a little crazy. The press report of this incident describes forcing candidates to buy food, clean cars, clean homes, run errands, and even eat condiments. But in this instance, the report indicates that the rites got so antic that members actually kidnapped and assaulted an initiate. The fraternity's clearly over-the-top hazing earned the fraternity a suspension as an approved university organization, it's second in the past decade. No more fraternity, no more hazing.
That the fraternity in the above story got as far as it did is surprising because laws in many states prohibit college and university student organizations from hazing. See, for example, Louisiana Revised Statutes Section 17:1801. Those state laws generally define hazing as any initiation rite that is likely to cause bodily injury or is physical punishment. The laws have responded to notorious incidents of hazing leading to not just candidate serious injuries but candidate deaths. And the laws generally don't just outlaw hazing. They also require the school to report the hazing to the police, suspend the student organization, and account to state boards. Once again, see, for example, Louisiana Revised Statutes Section 17:1801. No wonder, then, that Louisiana State University promptly suspended the responsible fraternity after its members kidnapped and assaulted an initiate.
But fraternity hazing also has individual student consequences. The above press report didn't identify any student discipline. That omission is surprising because Louisiana Revised Statutes Section 17:1801 also requires colleges and universities operating in the state to suspend students conducting the hazing for at least one term. Dismissal or expulsion is also a statutory option. And Louisiana Revised Statutes Section 17:1801 further indicates that the school may refer the responsible student for prosecution under the state's criminal hazing statute, Louisiana Revised Statutes Section 14:40.8. Colleges and universities nationwide respond to statutes like these by adding an anti-hazing provision to their student codes of conduct. See, for instance, the hazing prohibitions in the student codes of conduct at the University of Delaware and the University of Washington.
What to Do About Hazing Charges
If your college or university accuses you of violating its student conduct code's hazing prohibition or accuses you of other misconduct threatening your suspension or dismissal, your best move is to promptly retain a skilled and experienced college misconduct defense attorney advisor. National college misconduct defense attorney advisor Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm have successfully defended hundreds of students nationwide against misconduct charges. Call 888.535.3686 or go online now.