Klobuchar, Cassidy, McBath, Duncan Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Combat Hazing on College Campuses

This bipartisan legislation would require hazing incidents be included in a college’s annual crime report and improve transparency.
Published: October 30, 2023

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) and Representatives Lucy McBath (D-GA) and Jeff Duncan (R-SC) introduced the Stop Campus Hazing Act to improve the reporting and prevention of hazing on college campuses. This bipartisan legislation would require hazing incidents be included in a college’s annual crime report and require higher education institutions to establish a campus-wide, research-based program to educate students about the dangers of hazing. In addition, the bill would increase transparency and accountability by providing parents and students with better information about a college’s history of hazing incidents.

“When parents send their kids away to college, they expect they will get a good education and make new friends. Unfortunately, hazing is a dangerous—and at times deadly—reality, and we must work to end it,” said Klobuchar. “Our bipartisan legislation will improve hazing prevention efforts on college campuses as well as reporting of hazing incidents to make sure we have the information we need to stop this abuse and keep students safe.”

“Students should feel safe no matter what school they choose,” said Dr. Cassidy. “The Stop Campus Hazing Act improves transparency and ensures hazing is never ignored.”

“The impacts of hazing across our country are heartbreaking and unacceptable. I know the pain of losing a child, and we must do everything we can so that families know their kids are being kept safe when they go off to college,” said McBath. “This bipartisan, bicameral legislation strengthens important national standards for data collection and reporting so that students, their families, and our nation are informed about these horrific instances. This bill is an important step as we protect the health, safety, and success of students.”

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“Hazing on college campuses has taken the lives of too many shining stars,” said Duncan. “Our district knows the pain of losing a son, and friend, to hazing. I’m proud to stand up for countless students like Tucker W. Hipps whose life was taken too soon. If we stand united, we can put an end to hazing and ensure no one is subjected to the horrific pain it brings.”

This legislation is cosponsored by Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Lindsay Graham (R-SC), Bob Casey (D-PA), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Tim Kaine (D-VA), and Susan Collins (R-ME).

The National Study of Student Hazing found that more than half of college students involved in extracurricular clubs, athletic teams, and organizations experience hazing. Since 2000, there have been more than 50 hazing-related deaths.

The Stop Campus Hazing Act would:

  • Improve hazing reporting by requiring colleges to include hazing incidents in their Annual Security Report;
  • Prevent hazing by establishing campus-wide, research-based hazing education and prevention programs; and
  • Help students and their parents make informed decisions about joining organizations on campus by requiring colleges to publish on their websites the institution’s hazing prevention policies and the organizations that have violated them.

This bipartisan, evidence-informed legislation is supported by the Clery Center; StopHazing; Anti-Hazing Coalition including the Hazing Prevention Network, Association of Fraternal Leadership & Values, Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors, National Panhellenic Conference and its member sororities, the North American Interfraternity Conference and its member fraternities; College Safety Coalition; SAFE Campuses, LLC; International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators; and the parents of hazing victims.

“Federal legislation to address hazing is long overdue, and while we wait, lives continue to be lost. The Stop Campus Hazing Act will standardize how hazing is defined, tracked, and responded to across colleges and universities. This common-sense bill has unprecedented support from organizations and families across the country- the time is now,” said Jessica Mertz, Executive Director of the Clery Center.

“The National Association of Clery Compliance Officers and Professionals (NACCOP) strongly supports the primary tenants of the Clery Act as we believe the law has not only enhanced campus and student safety across the country, but it has also strengthened and professionalized campus police and security agencies, student affairs offices, and other compliance initiatives. It has been our privilege to provide feedback toward the “Stop Campus Hazing Act” in terms of helping refine some of the legislative language to reduce potential confusion and conflict for practitioners as they ensure proper implementation of the Act should it become law. We continue to support initiatives that strengthen institutional safety efforts at colleges and universities,” said Dolores Stafford, Executive Director, NACCOP.

“Hazing is a critical issue facing campuses across all sports and student organizations. The behavior can quickly escalate causing mental or physical harm and often occurs when there is a differing power dynamic between people inside a group and those trying to join. We applaud the introduction of the Stop Campus Hazing Act which will bring more transparency to the issue allowing students and parents to make educated decisions when choosing to join a group,” said Todd Shelton, Executive Director, Hazing Prevention Network.

“We must all work together to ensure far greater accountability for perpetrators of hazing and require far more transparency when these horrific acts occur on college campuses. Our organizations applaud the introduction of the Stop Campus Hazing Act and Panhellenic women across the country will continue to advocate for its passage as an urgent piece of legislation critical to the fight against hazing,” said Dani Weatherford, CEO, National Panhellenic Conference.

“The Stop Campus Hazing Act is a critical tool providing much needed transparency about past instances of hazing on college campuses. We applaud the bi-partisan leadership in the House and Senate for helping to educate, inform and ensure students have a safe learning environment,” said Judson Horras, President and CEO, North American Interfraternity Conference.

“Passage of the Stop Campus Hazing Act will help campus leaders send a strong and clear message that student health, safety, and well-being are vital to achieving the goals of postsecondary education,” said Dr. Elizabeth Allan, Professor of Higher Education at the University of Maine, Principal of StopHazing, and Director of the Hazing Prevention Consortium.

“October 19th marks two years since the horrific hazing event of our son Danny that has left him unable to walk, talk, or see. 2 years ago, it changed Danny’s future and the lives of our family forever. We think of how this bill would have saved Danny from this tragedy if it was passed before he entered college. As parents, we would have been so much more informed of what fraternity Danny was looking at. This bill will give transparency and insight to parents like us, who need to be informed of the organizations that are on college campuses today. This bill could have prevented Danny’s tragedy, and we are convinced it will save lives,” said Tom and Mary Pat Santulli, parents of Danny Santulli and Minnesota residents.

“On March 30, 2007 (over 16 years ago) our oldest son Gary DeVercelly, Jr. died from a fraternity hazing ritual during Big/Little night at the age of 18. Since his death, the number of identified hazing tragedies and deaths has escalated at an alarming rate. We see the introduction of the Stop Campus Hazing Act as a giant step forward in our battle to eradicate hazing. By requiring accountability, transparency, and education this bill will transform the hazing culture on campuses. We know the Stop Campus Hazing Act will save lives and make campuses safer. Had this bill been in effect when Gary Jr. went to college, he’d be alive today,” said Gary and Julie DeVercelly, parents of Gary DeVercelly, Jr.

“Since hazing accounts for and covers such a wide range of criminal acts on campus, it only makes sense for it to be reported with other crimes on campus. Transparency, education and accountability are important aspects of the “Stop Campus Hazing Act” in addition to tracking statistics. I feel this legislation is a no-brainer!” said Cindy Hipps, Mother of Tucker Hipps.

“Our son Max died from hazing at his fraternity house on Sept. 14, 2017 at LSU. After considering several fraternities, he believed the Phi Delta Thetas at LSU were a good choice, but he was unaware they had multiple student code of conduct violations, including hazing, as recent as the semester before he joined. The Stop Campus Hazing Act would have provided this information so that our son could have made a more educated decision about the organization he was joining. Knowing this information would have saved Max’s life,” said Steve and Rae Ann Gruver, parents of Max Gruver.

Klobuchar has been a leader in the fight to end hazing.

Last month, Klobuchar and Senator Bill Cassidy’s legislation to designate the week of September 25 through September 29, 2023 as “National Hazing Awareness Week” passed the Senate. Representatives Lucy McBath (D-GA) and Jeff Duncan (R-SC) lead companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

In 2021, Klobuchar and Senators Bill Cassidy, Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Bob Casey (D-PA) introduced the bipartisan Report and Educate About Campus Hazing (REACH) Act to address hazing on college campuses. This bill would require hazing incidents to be reported as part of a college’s annual crime report and establish a definition of hazing to clarify what constitutes a reportable offense. The legislation would also require institutions to establish a campus-wide, research-based program to educate students about the dangers of hazing.

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