Below is an abbreviated summary, in question and answer form, of the contents of the Texas Education Code, section 51.936 & 37.151-157 regarding hazing, and the applicability and implications for students, faculty and staff at UNT Dallas. This is only a summary.
The definitions of hazing:
“Hazing means any intentional, knowing, or reckless act, occurring on or off the campus of UNT Dallas, 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 students at UNT Dallas.
The term includes but is not limited to:
- Any type of physical brutality, such as whipping, beating, striking, branding, electronic shocking, placing of harmful substances on the body, or similar activity;
- 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 or harm or that adversely affects the mental or physical health or safety of the student;
- Any activity involving consumption of a food, liquor, alcoholic beverage, liquor, drug, or other substance which subjects the student to an unreasonable risk of harm or which adversely effects the mental or physical health or safety of the student;
- Any activity that intimidates or threatens the student with ostracism, that subjects the student to extreme mental stress, shame, or humiliation, or that adversely effects 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;
- Any activity that induces, causes, or requires the student to perform a duty or task which involves violation of the Penal Code. Sec. 4.52.
A person commits an offense if the person:
- Engages in hazing;
- Solicits, encourages, directs, aids, or attempts to aid another in engaging in hazing;
- Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly permits hazing to occur; or,
- Has firsthand knowledge of the planning of a specific hazing incident involving a student of UNT Dallas, or firsthand knowledge that a specific hazing incident has occurred, and knowingly fails to report said knowledge in writing to the appropriate University official.
Does it matter if I did not intend to hurt anyone?
Regardless of the intent, the University policies state that if one of the above occurs, it is hazing.
Does it matter if the person being hazed agrees to the activity?
Consent is not a defense. The law and University policy states that if one of the above occurs, it is hazing, regardless of the consent or cooperation of the recipient.
What is the penalty if I’m found guilty of hazing?
- Failing to report hazing: fine up to $1,000 and/or up to 180 days in jail.
- Hazing not resulting in serious bodily injury: fine of $500-$1,000 and/or 90-180 days in jail.
- Hazing resulting in serious bodily injury: fine $1,000-$5,000 and/or 180 days-one year in jail.
- Hazing resulting in death: fine of $5,000-$10,000 and/or 1-2 years in jail.
- Except where the hazing results in death, the student may be required to perform community service in lieu of confinement to jail.
- The student may also be subject to University disciplinary action, up to and including removal from the University, in addition or regardless of any penalty imposed by the state.
Can an organization be found guilty of hazing?
Yes. 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. Organizations which are covered under this law include a fraternity, sorority, association, corporation, order, society, chorus, cooperative, club, or service, social, or similar group whose members are primarily students at an educational institution.
Can I get into trouble for reporting hazing?
No. Any person who reports a specific hazing incident involving a student to an appropriate University official is protected from civil or criminal liability. However, a person who reports in bad faith or with malice is not protected by this section. The University hazing policy can be found in the UNT Dallas Policy Manual (7.013) at http://www.untdallas.edu/hr/upol.
Please report all potential hazing incidents to Student Affairs at (972) 338-1775 or StudentAffairs@unt.edu.