New law to combat hazing at collegiate and high school level to take effect in September

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New law to combat hazing at collegiate and high school campuses

Starting next month, Texas schools will be required to reveal hazing incidents to the public as part of a new senate bill.

Texas lawmakers are cracking down on student hazing as Governor Greg Abbott has signed Senate Bill 38 into law.

Douglas Stoves, associate Dean of Students for UTRGV, says the new law is a positive for college campuses as it will create more transparency and help to keep students safe.

“It’s important for people to know, especially if they’re considering joining an organization,” says Stoves.

The new law states that reports of hazing at high school and college levels must be submitted to all currently enrolled students and must also be posted on school websites.

“If it’s reported to us, the very first thing we’re going to do is investigate the issue,” adds Stoves.

Once an investigation is launched, then action to either suspend or put the organization on probation is discussed- something that has happened at UTRGV in the past.

“Yes, we have had hazing here at UTRGV,” confirms Stoves.

No UTRGV organization has been suspended, but following hazing incidents several groups have been put on probation, however, due to cases still being investigated, Stoves was unable to discuss specifics. But, he does say it doesn’t matter where the hazing happens, as long as it involves students, it is taken seriously.

“If it’s a registered student organization, and we find that somebody alleges hazing has occurred off campus, we still address the issues as if it has happened on campus,” explains Stoves.

Another addition to the law is immunity for students who report a hazing incident before being contacted by the campus with some exceptions.

Senate Bill 38 goes into effect September 1st and will apply to any hazing incident that occurred three years prior to September 2019.

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