There was a time when colleges and universities ignored or tolerated incidences of hazing on or off campus, but that is no longer the case. Students cannot expect a school to turn a blind eye to hazing anymore. It is prohibited on all campuses and it is against the law in Pennsylvania. Hazing can encompass various acts including (but not limited to):
- Any initiation or membership that places students in in danger of physical or mental harm. This includes any forced activity that could lead to physical danger, or cause the person to undergo extreme mental stress. Violating the health or dignity of the student is also consider hazing.
- Over the years, hazing has taken form in so many ways, including: sleep deprivation, forced consumption of alcohol, drugs or any other substance, whipping, beating, exposure to the elements, branding, exclusion, extreme embarrassment, nudity, physically restraining a person, mental distress, confinement, forced sexual activity and more. Any forced action that has any element of danger can potentially be hazing.
- An entire organization and its members can be considered to be participating in hazing if any part of their activities (pledge, initiation, etc.) cause destruction or removal of any public or private property.
Does Hazing Have Criminal Consequences?
Students need to be aware that acts of hazing will not only be subject to their schools discipline, but they can also be subject to criminal charges. School and student organizations are strictly prohibited from hazing anyone, whether it is a new or existing member. A student cannot circumvent the law by declaring that they consented to the hazing.
Pennsylvania’s code on hazing is found in 24 Pa.C.S.§ 5351, and is a third degree misdemeanor. Act 175 of 1986 of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (the Anti-Hazing Law) specifically prohibits hazing for the purpose of memberships. In order to eliminate this misdemeanor, Pennsylvania schools are required to utilize anti-hazing policies and to have established rules and discipline for violations.
How Can Hazing Affect Me on Campus?
Hazing has become a serious charge that will be responded to quickly and forcefully from the school administration. It can also carry criminal charges, meaning that the college administrators and the police will work together against an accused student or school organization. Students accused of hazing can suffer consequences on two different fronts and possibly face fines or even jail time.
Manchester & Associates Defense
Contact Manchester & Associates today for help if you are facing a hazing violation. Universities can move quickly and they will work with law enforecment since hazing is not only prohibited on campus, but it is against state law. An attorney can help the student step though both the school’s academic misconduct process and the court of law.