Hazing Policy

The university reserves the right to take disciplinary action against individual students and/or groups who are involved in hazing activities. Such disciplinary action may be taken independently of state or local prosecutorial actions, regardless of the outcome of such prosecutorial actions. Hazing on the part of students, faculty, or staff is strictly forbidden, whether on or off campus. The state law providing penal sanctions in the event of a conviction of hazing is set forth in sections 4.51-4.58, Texas Education Code, and provides in part, as it pertains to students, as follows:

A. Hazing

Hazing means any intentional, 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 any organization whose members are or include students at an educational institution. The term includes but is not limited to:

  1. any type of physical brutality, such as whipping, beating, striking, branding, electronic shocking, placing of a harmful substance on the body, or similar activity;
  2. 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;
  3. any activity involving consumption of a food, liquid, alcoholic beverage, liquor, drug, or other substance which subjects the student to an unreasonable risk or harm or which adversely affects the mental or physical health or safety of the student;
  4. any activity that intimidates or threatens the student with ostracism, that subjects the student to extreme mental stress, shame, or humiliation, or 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 subsection;
  5. any activity that induces, causes, or requires the student to perform a duty or task which involves a violation of the Penal Code or Code of Student Conduct.

B. Personal Hazing Offense

  1. A person commits an offense if the person:
  2. engages in hazing;
  3. solicits, encourages, directs, aids, or attempts to aid another in engaging in hazing;
  4. intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly permits hazing to occur; or
  5. has firsthand knowledge of the planning of a specific hazing incident involving a student in an educational institution, or firsthand knowledge that a specific hazing incident has occurred, and knowingly fails to report said knowledge in writing to the Dean of Students or other appropriate official of the institution.

C. Penalties for Hazing

  1. The offense of failing to report is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,000, confinement in county jail for not more than 180 days, or both such fine and confinement.
  2. Any other serious offense under this section which does not cause serious bodily injury to another is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than $500 nor more than $1,000, confinement in county jail for not less than 90 days nor more than 180 days, or both such fine and confinement.
  3. Any other offense under this section which causes serious bodily injury to another is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than $1,000 nor more than $5,000, confinement in county jail for not less than 180 days nor more than one year, or both such fine and confinement.
  4. Any other offense under this section which causes the death of another is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than $5,000 nor more than $10,000, confinement in county jail for not less than one year nor more than two years, or both such fine and confinement.

D. Organizing Hazing Offense

  1. 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.
  2. An offense under this section is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than $5,000 nor more than $10,000 or if a court finds that the offense caused personal injury, property damage, or other loss, the court may sentence the organization to pay a fine of not less than $5,000 nor more than double the amount lost or expenses incurred because of such injury, damage, or loss.

E. Consent Not a Defense

If 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.

F. 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.