Memorandum on Hazing Law and UT Regulations
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. The university will be fully compliant with the new legislation by January 1, 2020, as required by the law. New messages to students will begin in January, and will be sent out no later than 14 days before the start of the semester.
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 Dean of Students 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 the Dean of Students 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 under Chapter 14 of the Institutional Rules on Student Services and Activities..
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:
- Alpha Epsilon Pi* Conditional registration is two (2) years (February 21, 2021)
- Alpha Tau Omega Cancelled, term end date is no less than four (4) years from April 25, 2018.
- Delta Kappa Delta Penalty issued May 23, 2019. (Closed by Delta Kappa Delta Sorority, Inc. through at least May 31, 2024; University Probation will be two (2) years from return to active status.)
- Delta Sigma Phi* Conditional registration is two (2) years (March 29, 2020). ♦
- Phi Kappa Psi* Conditional registration is one and a half (1.5) years (May 23, 2020). ♦
- Sigma Alpha Mu* Conditional registration is two (2) years (May 2, 2021).
- Sigma Lambda Gamma* Penalty issued May 18, 2016 (Suspended by Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority, Inc. through May 31, 2017; conditional registration is two (2) years (administrative extension to May 23, 2020)).
- Texas Cowboys Cancelled, term end date is six (6) years (June7, 2025).
- Texas Iron Spikes* Conditional registration is two (2) years (January 24, 2020).
- Texas Rho Chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon Cancelled, term end date is no less than four (4) years from May 23, 2018.
- Undergraduate Business Council* Conditional registration is two (2) years (November 29, 2019). ♦
Organizations With Resolved Discipline Within The Preceeding Three Years
- Alpha Sigma Rho* Conditional registration is two (2) years (administrative extension to August 19, 2019)
- Chi Beta Delta* Conditional registration is two (2) years (Completed December 8, 2017).
- Delta Chi* Penalty issued June 14, 2017. No longer active. Conditional registration will be two (2) years from return to active status.
- Gamma Beta Suspension completed December 22, 2018. ♦
- Kappa Alpha Order* Conditional registration is two (2) years (Completed August 18, 2019).
- Kappa Kappa Gamma Probation is one (1) year (Completed December 14, 2017).
- Lambda Phi EpsilonProbation is two (2) years (Completed December 12, 2018). ♦
- Omega Phi Gamma* Conditional registration is two (2) years (August 16, 2019). ♦
- Phi Delta Theta Suspension completed December 23, 2017.♦
- Pi Kappa Alpha* Conditional registration is two (2) years (Completed October 31, 2016).♦
- Pi Kappa Phi* Probation is one (1) year (Completed December 6, 2017). ♦
- Texas Royals Probation is one (1) year (Completed May 19, 2018).
- Sigma Chi Probation is six (6) months (May 25, 2019).
- Zeta Beta Tau* Conditional registration is two (2) years (administrative extension to December 31, 2016).♦
* Resolved via Mutual Agreement ♦ More than one disciplinary sanction for hazing violations in the past three (3) years
Report hazing to the Office of the Dean of Students. For further information or clarification of probationary member activities, please contact Student Activities in the Office of the Dean of Students, 2609 University Ave., Room 2.112, 512-471-3065.