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Texas A&M University Stop Hazing Initiative

Texas Hazing Laws

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:

Texas Education Code, Chapter 37:

SUBCHAPTER F. HAZING

Sec. 37.151.  DEFINITIONS.  In this subchapter:

      (1)  "Educational institution" includes a public or private high school.

      (2)  "Pledge" means any person who has been accepted by, is considering an offer of membership from, or is in the process of qualifying for membership in an organization.

      (3)  "Pledging" means any action or activity related to becoming a member of an organization.

      (4)  "Student" means any person who:

           (A)  is registered in or in attendance at an educational institution;

           (B)  has been accepted for admission at the educational institution where the hazing incident occurs;  or

           (C)  intends to attend an educational institution during any of its regular sessions after a period of scheduled vacation.

      (5)  "Organization" means a fraternity, sorority, association, corporation, order, society, corps, club, or service, social, or similar group, whose members are primarily students.

      (6)  "Hazing" means 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, that endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student for the purpose of pledging, being initiated into, affiliating with, holding office in, or maintaining membership in an organization.  The term includes:

           (A)  any type of physical brutality, such as whipping, beating, striking, branding, electronic shocking, placing of a harmful substance on the body, or similar activity;

           (B)  any type of physical activity, such as sleep deprivation, exposure to the elements, confinement in a small space, calisthenics, or other 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;

           (C)  any activity involving consumption of a food, liquid, alcoholic beverage, liquor, drug, or other substance that subjects the student to an unreasonable risk of harm or that adversely affects the mental or physical health or safety of the student;

           (D)  any activity that intimidates or threatens the student with ostracism, that subjects the student to extreme mental stress, shame, or humiliation, that adversely affects the mental health or dignity of the student or discourages the student from entering or remaining registered in an educational institution, or that may reasonably be expected to cause a student to leave the organization or the institution rather than submit to acts described in this subdivision;  and

           (E)  any activity that induces, causes, or requires the student to perform a duty or task that involves a violation of the Penal Code.

Sec. 37.152.  PERSONAL HAZING OFFENSE.  (a)  A person commits an offense if the person:

      (1)  engages in hazing;

      (2)  solicits, encourages, directs, aids, or attempts to aid another in engaging in hazing;

      (3)  recklessly permits hazing to occur;  or

      (4)  has firsthand knowledge of the planning of a specific hazing incident involving a student in an educational institution, or has firsthand knowledge that a specific hazing incident has occurred, and knowingly fails to report that knowledge in writing to the dean of students or other appropriate official of the institution.

(b)  The offense of failing to report is a Class B misdemeanor.

(c)  Any other offense under this section that does not cause serious bodily injury to another is a Class B misdemeanor.

(d)  Any other offense under this section that causes serious bodily injury to another is a Class A misdemeanor.

(e)  Any other offense under this section that causes the death of another is a state jail felony.

(f)  Except if an offense causes the death of a student, in sentencing a person convicted of an offense under this section, the court may require the person to perform community service, subject to the same conditions imposed on a person placed on community supervision under Section 11, Article 42.12, Code of Criminal Procedure, for an appropriate period of time in lieu of confinement in county jail or in lieu of a part of the time the person is sentenced to confinement in county jail.

Sec. 37.153.  ORGANIZATION HAZING OFFENSE.  (a)  An organization commits an offense if the organization condones or encourages hazing or if an officer or any combination of members, pledges, or alumni of the organization commits or assists in the commission of hazing.

   (b)  An offense under this section is a misdemeanor punishable by:

         (1)  a fine of not less than $5,000 nor more than $10,000;  or

         (2)  if the court finds that the offense caused personal injury, property damage, or other loss, a fine of not less than $5,000 nor more than double the amount lost or expenses incurred because of the injury, damage, or loss.

Sec. 37.154.  CONSENT NOT A DEFENSE.  It is not a defense to prosecution of an offense under this subchapter that the person against whom the hazing was directed consented to or acquiesced in the hazing activity.

Sec. 37.155.  IMMUNITY FROM PROSECUTION AVAILABLE.  In the prosecution of an offense under this subchapter, the court may grant immunity from prosecution for the offense to each person who is subpoenaed to testify for the prosecution and who does testify for the prosecution.  Any person reporting a specific hazing incident involving a student in an educational institution to the dean of students or other appropriate official of the institution is immune from civil or criminal liability that might otherwise be incurred or imposed as a result of the report.  Immunity extends to participation in any judicial proceeding resulting from the report.  A person reporting in bad faith or with malice is not protected by this section.

Sec. 37.156.  OFFENSES IN ADDITION TO OTHER PENAL PROVISIONS.  This subchapter does not affect or repeal any penal law of this state.  This subchapter does not limit or affect the right of an educational institution to enforce its own penalties against hazing.

Sec. 37.157.  REPORTING BY MEDICAL AUTHORITIES.  A doctor or other medical practitioner who treats a student who may have been subjected to hazing activities:

      (1)  may report the suspected hazing activities to police or other law enforcement officials;  and

      (2)  is immune from civil or other liability that might otherwise be imposed or incurred as a result of the report, unless the report is made in bad faith or with malice.

 

Texas Education Code, Chapter 51:

Subchapter Z. Miscellaneous Provisions

Sec. 51.936.  HAZING.  (a)  Subchapter F, Chapter 37, applies to a postsecondary educational institution under this section in the same manner as that subchapter applies to a public or private high school.

(b)  For purposes of this section, "postsecondary educational institution" means:

      (1)  an institution of higher education as defined by Section 61.003;

      (2)  a private or independent institution of higher education as defined by Section 61.003; or

      (3)  a private postsecondary educational institution as defined by Section 61.302.

(c)  Each postsecondary educational institution shall distribute to each student during the first three weeks of each semester:

      (1)  a summary of the provisions of Subchapter F, Chapter 37;  and

      (2)  a list of organizations that have been disciplined for hazing or convicted for hazing on or off the campus of the institution during the preceding three years.

(d) If the institution publishes a general catalogue, student handbook, or similar publication, it shall publish a summary of the provisions of Subchapter F, Chapter 37, in each edition of the publication.

(e)  Section 1.001(a) does not limit the application of this section to postsecondary educational institutions supported in whole or in part by state tax funds.