Code of Student Conduct, Equity Discrimination Resolution Process
In line with our Core Values and the Marianist Catholic charism, hazing is an act that that goes against the ideas of community and family spirit on the St. Mary’s University campus. Not only is this against the law, but the very act and its outcomes are detrimental to the type of leaders the institution strives to mold and develop.
The Texas anti-hazing statute [http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/ED/htm/ED.37.htm, p. 77-81] took effect on September 1, 1987. The act covers offenses related to hazing at, or in connection with, educational institutions. It applies to both individuals and organizations. Individuals include active members, pledges/potential new members, associate/new members, affiliates, alumni and advisors. Organizations are defined as a fraternity, sorority, registered student organization, association, corporation, order, society, corps, club, cooperative, or similar group whose members are mostly students at an educational institution. Thus, this statute covers all registered student organizations, athletic teams, and other student groups at StMU (such as band and departmental clubs). The statute applies to programs and activities both on and off StMU property. One’s consent to be hazed is not a defense to prosecution of any offense under the statute. Individuals who have firsthand knowledge of hazing, including those who are hazed, are required by law to report that knowledge to appropriate University officials. In addition, all incidents of hazing adjudicated by the University must also be referred directly to the Bexar County District Attorney.
Definition of Hazing: Hazing under the statute, and as adopted by St. Mary’s, means any intentional, knowing or reckless act occurring on or off campus, by one person acting alone or with others, directed against a student or group of students for the purpose of pledging, being initiated into, affiliating with, holding office in, or maintaining membership in any organization whose members are, or include, students at StMU. The term “hazing” under the statute includes, but is not limited to offenses that:
Specific examples of include:
A person commits an offense under the StMU policy if s/he:
In addition to any University sanctions imposed (see Code of Student Conduct), the court may impose both a fine and confinement for any offense. In all cases, except when an offense has caused the death of a student, the court may require a person to perform community service under the same provisions as the criminal code allows. Specific penalties include:
An organization commits an offense if the organization condones or encourages hazing, or if an officer or any combination of members, potential new members, or alumni of the organization commits or assists in the commission of hazing. Previously relied upon “traditions” will not suffice as a justifiable reason for participation in such acts.
In addition to any University sanctions imposed (see Code of Student Conduct), an organizational offense is considered a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than $5000, or more than $10,000 for the organization. If the court finds the offense caused personal injury, property damage or other loss, the court may sentence the organization to pay a fine of no less than $5000 nor more than double the amount of the loss or expenses incurred because of such damage, injury or loss.
Any person reporting a specific hazing incident, in writing, to the appropriate StMU official is immune from civil or criminal liability. The law provides for immunity from prosecution under the statute to a person who is subpoenaed to testify for the prosecution and who does testify. Immunity extends to participation in any judicial proceedings resulting from the report, except in the case of a person reporting hazing in bad faith or with malice. This statute does not affect or repeal any other penal law in the State of Texas.
Medical treatment of a student who may have been subjected to hazing activities may be reported to St. Mary’s University Police or other law enforcement agencies, and the doctor or medical practitioner so reporting shall be immune from civil suit or other liability that might otherwise be imposed or incurred as a result of the report unless the report was made in bad faith or with malice.
Under the statute, StMU must publish a summary of the statute and distribute or publish a list of organizations that have been disciplined for hazing or convicted of hazing on or off campus during the previous three years.
The University has defined incidents and activities that may be interpreted as hazing according to the Student Code of Conduct. These activities include, but are not limited to the following:
Questions regarding the legitimacy or liability of any event or activity or to report a possible incident should be directed to the Dean of Students.
Current registered student organizations that have been charged with and sanctioned for hazing in the last three years include: