Hazing in university fraternities has become an epidemic. Most hazing involves new pledges who are coerced to endure physical, emotional, or psychological harm to prove themselves worthy of admission to the group. Sadly, many students suffer severe injuries from hazing, up to and including death. Many states have passed specific laws banning hazing and expanded the universe of persons guilty of hazing to possibly include non-participants who aided the hazing. In 2020, a Florida appellate court broadened this further, potentially holding a fraternity president responsible for hazing for making the mistake of allowing liquor at an off-campus party. The fraternity president in that case did know hazing would occur and was not present when it occurred. In light of this holding and the broad wording of state statutes across the country, this Article sets forth recommended practices to minimize the likelihood of criminal prosecution for hazing for fraternity presidents. The impact on the culture of the fraternity may be significant; however, these recommendations will further the twin goals of reducing hazing incidents and minimizing criminal responsibility for those who are non-participants of the hazing.
"Proceed with Caution: Criminal Responsibility for Non-participating Actors in University Hazing Incidents,"
Touro Law Review: Vol. 38:
4, Article 12.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.tourolaw.edu/lawreview/vol38/iss4/12