To report an act of hazing, please contact the Dean of Students Office at 512.245.2124.
Spring 2024 Hazing Memorandum
TO: All Students, Faculty and Staff
FROM: Dr. Vincent E. Morton, Associate Vice President for Student Success and Dean of Students
RE: Hazing Memorandum
DATE: January 11, 2024
The Texas Legislature enacted an anti-hazing law in 1987. The state law provides penal sanctions in the event of a conviction of hazing. According to this law, individuals or organizations engaging in hazing could be subject to fines and charged with a criminal offense.
Hazing on the part of students, faculty or staff is prohibited, whether on or off campus. Texas State University students are expected to be partners in fulfilling the mission of the university by creating and maintaining standards within student groups, teams and organizations that are conducive to personal growth and development. If student groups, teams and organizations are to play an integral part in the university's plan, they are expected to set standards that encourage each individual to achieve his or her greatest potential. Hazing is the antithesis of this goal as it can diminish an individual's pride and self-esteem. The university may take disciplinary action against individuals and/or groups who are involved in hazing activities. Such disciplinary action may be taken independently of state or local prosecutorial actions.
State law defines hazing as "any intentional, knowing or reckless act, occurring on or off the campus of an educational institution, 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 an organization whose members are or include students at an educational institution. Hazing includes but is not limited to:
- Any type of physical brutality such as whipping, beating, striking, branding, electronic shocking, placing of a harmful substance 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 of harm or that adversely affects the mental or physical health or safety of the student;
- Any activity involving consumption of a food, liquid, alcoholic beverage, liquor, drug, or other substance which subjects the student to an unreasonable risk or harm or which adversely affects 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, humiliation, or that adversely affects the mental health or dignity of the student or discourages 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; and
- Any activity that induces, causes or requires the student to perform a duty or task which involves a violation of the Penal Code or Code of Student Conduct.
A. Personal Hazing Offense
A person commits a hazing 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
- Has firsthand knowledge of the planning of a specific hazing incident involving a student in an educational institution, or has firsthand knowledge that a specific hazing incident has occurred, and knowingly fails to report said knowledge to the Dean of Students Office, University Police Department (UPD), a UPD Officer, Student Involvement or other appropriate entity or official of the institution
B. University Disciplinary Rules
The law does not restrict the right of Texas State University to enforce its own rules against hazing, and the university may take disciplinary action for conduct that constitutes hazing regardless of whether public authorities prosecute students under the state hazing law.
- Hazing with or without the consent of the student is prohibited by Texas State. Both the individual(s) inflicting the hazing and the person submitting to the hazing are subject to disciplinary action. The fact that an individual consented to or acquiesced in a hazing activity is not a defense to prosecution of an offense under the hazing law, and neither will it be under the university's disciplinary process
- Initiations or activities by organizations may not include any feature which is dangerous, harmful or degrading to the student. A violation of this prohibition renders both the organization and participating individuals subject to discipline
C. Disciplinary Actions
The disciplinary actions assigned/determined in a particular case may vary dependent on the nature of the conduct involved, the circumstances and conditions that existed at the time and the results that followed such conduct. Possible actions include but are not limited to:
- Disciplinary warning
- Disciplinary probation
- Withholding grades, official transcript or degree
- Bar against readmission or drop from current enrollment and bar against readmission
- Required participation in specific educational programs
- Suspension of rights and privileges
- Revocation of degree, denial of degree and/or withdrawal of diploma
D. Immunity from Prosecution Available
In an effort to encourage reporting of hazing incidents, the court may grant immunity from civil or criminal prosecution to any person reporting a specific hazing incident involving a student in an educational institution to the Dean of Students, UPD, a UPD Officer or other appropriate official at Texas State. A person reporting in bad faith or with malice is not protected by this section.
E. Texas State Alcohol and Drug Amnesty Statement
Texas State is committed to the holistic well-being of its students. In an effort to encourage Texas State students to call Emergency 911 in case of a drug or alcohol-related medical emergency, a student may be granted amnesty from formal university disciplinary procedures if:
- The student requested medical assistance in response to the possible alcohol or drug overdose of another person;
- The student was the "first" person to make a request for medical assistance;
- The student remained on the scene until medical assistance arrived; and
- The student cooperated with medical assistance and law enforcement personnel.
- The reporting student will be expected to provide an account of the episode/event to a university official regardless of the amnesty standard being applied.