Hazing in any form is a serious offense and may receive the full range of disciplinary response, including suspension from the university. Students are advised that “hazing” as and to the extent defined in the Texas statute on hazing is a crime in Texas. The university reserves the right, for its private disciplinary purposes, to define conduct as “hazing” whether or not it would constitute hazing under the Texas law. The following is a summary of the law against hazing. The full text may be found in Chapter 4, Subchapter B of the Texas Education Code.
Definition: Under the Texas statute “hazing” means intentionally, knowingly or recklessly endangering the mental or physical health or safety of a student in connection with that student’s participation or membership in any social, service or similar club, group or organization, including pledging, initiation, holding office or maintaining membership. The law applies whether the hazing occurs on or off campus.
Examples: Hazing includes whipping, striking or beating; sleep deprivation, exposure to the elements, calisthenics, consumption of food, liquid, alcoholic beverages, liquor or drugs which constitute an unreasonable risk of harm or which adversely affects one’s mental or physical health or safety; and any activity that subjects a student to extreme mental stress, shame or humiliation, or that adversely affects the mental health or dignity of a student.
Persons subject to prosecution: Anyone is guilty of the crime who engages in hazing; encourages, directs, aids or attempts to aid another in hazing; intentionally, knowingly or recklessly permits hazing to occur; or has firsthand knowledge of the planning of a specific hazing incident or has firsthand knowledge that hazing has occurred and fails to report the incident in writing to the Dean of Students or another appropriate official of the university.
Organizations subject to prosecution: An organization may also be guilty of hazing if it condones or encourages hazing, or if an officer or any group of members, pledges or alumni commits or assists in an act of hazing.
a. A person convicted of the crime of hazing is subject to a fine ranging from $500 to $10,000 and imprisonment for a period up to two years, depending on the severity of the offense.
b. An organization convicted of the crime of hazing is subject to a fine of not less than $5,000, but not more than double the amount of loss or expenses incurred because of injury, damage or loss to a person or property.