Senator Ken LaValle: Legislature Approves Measure to Combat College Hazing

Kenneth P. LaValle

June 29, 2018

June 27, 2018 - Senator Ken LaValle reports that the State Legislature has approved his legislation that is designed to combat college hazing.  The bill (S2755) amends the penal law, in relation to prohibiting physical contact or activity in any organization's initiating ceremony

Senator LaValle said, “Too many families have had to grieve the loss of a relative due to hazing.   Whether it be from dangerous hazing incidents, alcohol poisoning or drug overdoses, we need to continue to combat the problems causing tragic deaths and injuries on campuses.  This legislation would bring the changes necessary to deter such harmful behavior in the future.”

Although New York State currently has several laws in place to prohibit hazing, these incidents have not decreased. During the initiation or affiliation ceremonies of fraternities, students continue to be placed in situations in which their own safety is jeopardized.

This bill would prevent the deaths or serious injuries of students by prohibiting all physical conduct and physical activities required from the fraternities during the pledging ceremonies. Under this legislation, those who engage in the reckless activities of hazing would be guilty of hazing the first degree, which is a stiffer penalty.

Senator LaValle added, “Hazing incidents occurring on and off New York State campuses are intolerable and preventable. If the Governor signs this measure into law, it will provide the necessary measures to deter harmful behavior and help ensure that all of the students attending New York State institutions are protected from the substantial risks caused by hazing.”

In spite of good faith efforts on the part of institutions of higher education to implement policies and procedures to combat these issues, the problems continue and show no signs of decreasing.  As a result, parents, administrators and trustees have become increasingly concerned about the safety of their children and students on campus.

Earlier this year, the Senate approved another anti-hazing measure introduced by Senator LaValle. The bill (S2552) would address the issues of underage drinking, hazing and illegal drug use on New York State Campuses.  This legislation is presently in the Assembly’s Higher Education Committee.

Senator LaValle’s legislation, S2755, is sponsored by Assemblyman Weprin in the Assembly and will be transmitted to the Governor for consideration.