Gov. Wolf signs anti-hazing laws

Heather Comstock, BUPD Sergeant

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The Bloomsburg University Police Department would like to share new information relating to the Anti-Hazing Laws signed by Governor Tom Wolf. While he puts his signature on legislation to enact stricter criminal penalties, he also permits courts to order confiscation of frat houses where hazing has occurred. The law requires schools to maintain policies to combat hazing and classifies as felonies the hazing incidents that result in severe injury or death. High schools, colleges and universities are required to report hazing incidents.

This new law defines hazing as conditioning acceptance into a group on breaking the law; consuming food, booze or drugs that put someone in emotional or physical harm; brutality of a sexual in nature; putting them through whipping, beating, branding, calisthenics or exposure to severe weather; or sleep deprivation, “exclusion from social conduct” or extreme embarrassment.

It also establishes tiers for hazing. The least-serious incidents are low-level violations. Hazing that’s reasonably likely to injure someone constitutes a misdemeanor, while severe injury or death makes it a felony.

ALWAYS REMEMBER: There is a “safe harbor” provision that can insulate people from prosecution if they seek help for victims of hazing incidents. Bloomsburg University Employees campus wide share in the responsibility and duty to help combat hazing.