Texas

SUBCHAPTER F. HAZING

Sec. 37.151. DEFINITIONS. In this subchapter:

(1) “Educational institution” includes a public or private high school.

(2) “Pledge” means any person who has been accepted by, is considering an offer of membership from, or is in the process of qualifying for membership in an organization.

(3) “Pledging” means any action or activity related to becoming a member of an organization.

(4) “Student” means any person who:

(A) is registered in or in attendance at an educational institution;

(B) has been accepted for admission at the educational institution where the hazing incident occurs; or

(C) intends to attend an educational institution during any of its regular sessions after a period of scheduled vacation.

(5) “Organization” means a fraternity, sorority, association, corporation, order, society, corps, club, or student government, a band or musical group or an academic, athletic, cheerleading, or dance team, including any group or team that participates in National Collegiate Athletic Association competition, or a service, social, or similar group, whose members are primarily students.

(6) “Hazing” means 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 for the purpose of pledging, being initiated into, affiliating with, holding office in, or maintaining membership in an organization if the act:

(A) is any type of physical brutality, such as whipping, beating, striking, branding, electronic shocking, placing of a harmful substance on the body, or similar activity;

(B) involves sleep deprivation, exposure to the elements, confinement in a small space, calisthenics, or other similar 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;

(C) involves consumption of a food, liquid, alcoholic beverage, liquor, drug, or other substance, other than as described by Paragraph (E), that subjects the student to an unreasonable risk of harm or that adversely affects the mental or physical health or safety of the student;

(D) is any activity that induces, causes, or requires the student to perform a duty or task that involves a violation of the Penal Code; or

(E) involves coercing, as defined by Section 1.07, Penal Code, the student to consume:

(i) a drug; or

(ii) an alcoholic beverage or liquor in an amount that would lead a reasonable person to believe that the student is intoxicated, as defined by Section 49.01, Penal Code.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995.

Amended by:

Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1371 (S.B. 38), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2019.

Sec. 37.152. PERSONAL HAZING OFFENSE. (a) A person commits an offense if the person:

(1) engages in hazing;

(2) solicits, encourages, directs, aids, or attempts to aid another in engaging in hazing;

(3) recklessly permits hazing to occur; or

(4) 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 that knowledge in writing to the dean of students or other appropriate official of the institution.

(b) The offense of failing to report is a Class B misdemeanor.

(c) Any other offense under this section that does not cause serious bodily injury to another is a Class B misdemeanor.

(d) Any other offense under this section that causes serious bodily injury to another is a Class A misdemeanor.

(e) Any other offense under this section that causes the death of another is a state jail felony.

(f) Except if an offense causes the death of a student, in sentencing a person convicted of an offense under this section, the court may require the person to perform community service, subject to the same conditions imposed on a person placed on community supervision under Chapter 42A, Code of Criminal Procedure, for an appropriate period of time in lieu of confinement in county jail or in lieu of a part of the time the person is sentenced to confinement in county jail.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995.

Amended by:

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 770 (H.B. 2299), Sec. 2.30, eff. January 1, 2017.

Sec. 37.153. ORGANIZATION HAZING OFFENSE. (a) 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.

(b) An offense under this section is a misdemeanor punishable by:

(1) a fine of not less than $5,000 nor more than $10,000; or

(2) if the court finds that the offense caused personal injury, property damage, or other loss, a fine of not less than $5,000 nor more than double the amount lost or expenses incurred because of the injury, damage, or loss.

Sec. 37.154. CONSENT NOT A DEFENSE. It is not a defense to prosecution of an offense under this subchapter that the person against whom the hazing was directed consented to or acquiesced in the hazing activity.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995.

Sec. 37.155. IMMUNITY FROM PROSECUTION OR CIVIL LIABILITY AVAILABLE. (a) In the prosecution of an offense under this subchapter, the court may grant immunity from prosecution for the offense to each person who is subpoenaed to testify for the prosecution and who does testify for the prosecution.

(b) Any person who voluntarily reports a specific hazing incident involving a student in an educational institution to the dean of students or other appropriate official of the institution is immune from civil or criminal liability that might otherwise be incurred or imposed as a result of the reported hazing incident if the person: (1) reports the incident before being contacted by the institution concerning the incident or otherwise being included in the institution’s investigation of the incident; and

(2) as determined by the dean of students or other appropriate official of the institution designated by the institution, cooperates in good faith throughout any institutional process regarding the incident.

(c) Immunity under Subsection (b) extends to participation in any judicial proceeding resulting from the report.

(d) A person is not immune under Subsection (b) if the person:

(1) reports the person’s own act of hazing; or

(2) reports an incident of hazing in bad faith or with malice.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995.

Amended by:

Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1371 (S.B. 38), Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2019.

Sec. 37.156. OFFENSES IN ADDITION TO OTHER PENAL PROVISIONS. This subchapter does not affect or repeal any penal law of this state. This subchapter does not limit or affect the right of an educational institution to enforce its own penalties against hazing.

Sec. 37.157. REPORTING BY MEDICAL AUTHORITIES. A doctor or other medical practitioner who treats a student who may have been subjected to hazing activities:

(1) may report the suspected hazing activities to police or other law enforcement officials; and

(2) is immune from civil or other liability that might otherwise be imposed or incurred as a result of the report, unless the report is made in bad faith or with malice.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995.

Sec. 37.158. VENUE. (a) In this section, “prosecuting attorney” means a county attorney, district attorney, or criminal district attorney.

(b) An offense under this subchapter may be prosecuted:

(1) in any county in which the offense may be prosecuted under other law; or

(2) if the consent required by Subsection (c) is provided, in a county, other than a county described by Subdivision (1), in which is located the educational institution campus at which a victim of the offense is enrolled.

(c) An offense under this subchapter may be prosecuted in a county described by Subsection (b)(2) only with the written consent of a prosecuting attorney of a county described by Subsection (b)(1) who has authority to prosecute an offense under this subchapter.

Added by Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1371 (S.B. 38), Sec. 3, eff. September 1, 2019.

Sec. 51.936. HAZING. (a) Subchapter F, Chapter 37, applies to a postsecondary educational institution under this section in the same manner as that subchapter applies to a public or private high school.

(b) For purposes of this section, “postsecondary educational institution” means:

(1) an institution of higher education as defined by Section 61.003;

(2) a private or independent institution of higher education as defined by Section 61.003; or

(3) a private postsecondary educational institution as defined by Section 61.302.

(c) Not later than the 14th day before the first class day of each fall or spring semester, each postsecondary educational institution shall distribute to each student enrolled at the institution:

(1) a summary of the provisions of Subchapter F, Chapter 37; and

(2) a copy of, or an electronic link to a copy of, the report required under Subsection (c-1).

(c-1) Each postsecondary educational institution shall develop and post in a prominent location on the institution’s Internet website a report on hazing committed on or off campus by an organization registered with or recognized by the institution. The report:

(1) must include information regarding each disciplinary action taken by the institution against an organization for hazing, and each conviction of hazing under Section 37.153 by an organization, during the three years preceding the date on which the report is issued or updated, including:

(A) the name of the organization disciplined or convicted;

(B) the date on which the incident occurred or the citation was issued, if applicable;

(C) the date on which the institution’s investigation into the incident, if any, was initiated;

(D) a general description of:

(i) the incident;

(ii) the violations of the institution’s code of conduct or the criminal charges, as applicable;

(iii) the findings of the institution or court; and

(iv) any sanctions imposed by the institution, or any fines imposed by the court, on the organization; and

(E) the date on which the institution’s disciplinary process was resolved or on which the conviction became final;

(2) must be updated to include information regarding each disciplinary process or conviction not later than the 30th day after the date on which the disciplinary process is resolved or the conviction becomes final, as applicable; and

(3) may not include personally identifiable student information and must comply with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (20 U.S.C. Section 1232g).

(c-2) Each postsecondary educational institution shall provide to each student who attends the institution’s student orientation a notice regarding the nature and availability of the report required under Subsection (c-1), including the report’s Internet website address.

(d) If the institution publishes a general catalogue, student handbook, or similar publication, it shall publish a summary of the provisions of Subchapter F, Chapter 37, in each edition of the publication.

(e) Section 1.001(a) does not limit the application of this section to postsecondary educational institutions supported in whole or in part by state tax funds.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 18, eff. May 30, 1995.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 594 (H.B. 1791), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2005.

Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1371 (S.B. 38), Sec. 4, eff. September 1, 2019.

Sec. 51.9361. RISK MANAGEMENT PROGRAMS FOR MEMBERS AND ADVISORS OF STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS. (a) In this section:

(1) “Advisor” means a person who:

(A) serves in an advisory capacity to a student organization to provide guidance to the organization and its members;

(B) is older than 21 years of age; and

(C) is not a student of the postsecondary educational institution at which the student organization is registered.

(2) “Postsecondary educational institution” means:

(A) an institution of higher education as defined by Section 61.003, except that the term does not include a medical and dental unit or other agency of higher education as those terms are defined by that section; and

(B) a private or independent institution of higher education as defined by Section 61.003, except that the term does not include:

(i) a health-related institution; or

(ii) an institution that offers only upper-division, graduate-level, or professional courses.

(b) This section applies only to a student organization that is registered at a postsecondary educational institution and that is composed mostly of students enrolled at the institution. Notwithstanding Section 1.001(a), this section applies to each postsecondary educational institution at which is registered one or more student organizations.

(c) At least once during each academic year, a postsecondary educational institution shall provide a risk management program for members of student organizations registered at the institution. Any member of a student organization who is not otherwise required to attend may attend the program.

(d) Unless a postsecondary educational institution requires each student organization registered at the institution to have representatives of the organization attend a program under this section, the institution shall adopt a policy that specifies one or more of those student organizations or types of student organizations that are required to have representatives attend. The selection of student organizations or types of student organizations under the policy must be based on the institution’s determination that those organizations or types of organizations could particularly benefit from risk management guidance. Each advisor who has not previously attended a program under this section and each person serving in a designated officer position of a student organization that is required to have representatives attend a program under this section shall attend the program. An institution may allow an advisor, other than a faculty or staff member of the institution, to satisfy the attendance requirements prescribed by this subsection through completion of an appropriate computer-based risk assessment program.

(e) For purposes of Subsection (d), the institution may designate not more than four officer positions of a student organization, such as the president, membership chair, risk management chair, social chair, or pledge class or new member chair. If a student organization does not have an officer position described by this subsection or if an officer position described by Subsection (d) is vacant, the institution shall, to the extent practicable, identify and designate an equivalent officer position, and the person serving in that officer position shall attend the program.

(f) Each advisor or officer required by Subsection (d) to attend a program shall report on the program’s contents at a meeting of the full membership of the student organization the advisor or officer represented at the program.

(g) A program under this section may address any issue determined appropriate by the postsecondary educational institution and must address:

(1) possession and use of alcoholic beverages and illegal drugs, including penalties that may be imposed for possession or use;

(2) hazing;

(3) sexual abuse and harassment;

(4) fire and other safety issues, including the possession and use of a firearm or other weapon or of an explosive device;

(5) travel to a destination outside the area in which the institution is located;

(6) behavior at parties and other events held by a student organization;

(7) adoption by a student organization of a risk management policy; and

(8) issues regarding persons with disabilities, including a review of applicable requirements of federal and state law, and any related policies of the institution, for providing reasonable accommodations and modifications to address the needs of students with disabilities, including access to the activities of the student organization.

(h) A postsecondary educational institution shall provide notice of a program under this section to student organizations in the manner determined by the institution.

(i) A postsecondary educational institution shall take attendance at a program provided under this section in the manner determined appropriate by the institution and may, as provided by a policy adopted by the institution, impose reasonable sanctions on a person who is required to attend the program and fails to attend. The institution shall, until at least the third anniversary of the date of the program, maintain in an appropriate location at the institution a record of that attendance and of notice provided under Subsection (h).

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 731 (H.B. 2639), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2007.

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 807 (S.B. 1138), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2007.

Amended by:

Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1216 (S.B. 1525), Sec. 1, eff. June 14, 2013.