Pennsylvania becomes 45th state with an anti-hazing law
- Pennsylvania on Friday became the 45th U.S. state with anti-hazing laws on the books when Governor Tom Wolf signed into law a bill requiring secondary and post-secondary institutions to have anti-hazing and reporting policies and procedures in place, CNN reported.
- The Timothy J. Piazza Anti Hazing Law is named for a Penn State University student who died in 2017 as a result of injuries sustained from falls after drinking excessively at a fraternity pledge event. The law strengthens penalties that could include fines, withholding diplomas and expulsion.
- The law also adds a felony charge for aggravated hazing if serious injury or death result, making the state one of 12 to do so. Since 2005, there have been more than 77 deaths related to fraternity activities nationwide.
There also has been some movement apart from legal remedies to reform behavior at fraternity events.
The Piazza family is among the parents of hazing victims who are working together on the issue. The families of 16 students who died in fraternity hazing incidents gathered in February to provide each other support and initiate a national anti-hazing campaign that began this fall.
In addition, presidents of the three universities where deaths occurred last year are collaborating to make Greek life safer, including through the creation of a national scorecard to evaluate conduct among these groups. They discussed the scorecard concept in April at a conference on the topic that brought together leaders from 31 colleges and universities.
The presidents agree on the viability of Greek life on campus, but realized many college leaders need guidance on how to improve issues such as behavior, accountability and communication, the Chronicle of Higher Education reported.
At least two organizations specifically address the issue in higher education. HazingPrevention.org is a nonprofit tracking state legislation on hazing that provides a variety of related resources, including an interactive map showing what states have hazing laws. Stop Hazing Now offers data about incidents and trends and provides educational material.