State Senator Hugh T. Farley (R, C, I - Schenectady) and his colleagues in the New York State Senate recently passed legislation to prevent the tragic injuries and deaths that can occur due to hazing at colleges and universities. The bill (S.1937) would help cut down on hazing by strengthening a college or university's enforcement authority and increasing awareness of the consequences of hazing, underage drinking, and illegal drug use.
In spite of good faith efforts on the part of institutions of higher education to implement policies and procedures to combat hazing, problems continue and show no signs of decreasing.
This legislation passed by the Senate would build upon existing criminal laws against hazing, underage drinking and illegal drug use to deter such activities by requiring colleges and universities to implement more serious consequences and disciplinary charges for offenders. The bill:
· Requires colleges to adopt rules prohibiting hazing, underage drinking and illegal drug use and establish penalties for non-compliance;
· Expands authority of colleges to regulate conduct by college and student government organizations and clubs, athletic teams and clubs, alumni organizations, fraternities, sororities, and any other organization that has access to and use of the college facilities;
· Requires colleges to educate the campus community on bias-related crime, hazing, underage drinking and illegal drug use; and
· Requires colleges to inform incoming students of and to train residence hall staff in the prohibitions against hazing, underage drinking and illegal drug use.
The bill has been sent to the Assembly.