March 26, 2024

Hazing incidents to be public under new Indiana law

Purdue University in West Lafayette has an online listing of hazing incidents. Next school year, all state colleges will have to do the same. - Ben Thorp / WBAA

Purdue University in West Lafayette has an online listing of hazing incidents. Next school year, all state colleges will have to do the same.

Ben Thorp / WBAA

Universities in Indiana will be required to share details of hazing incidents that take place on their campuses under a new state law. 

The law requires public universities and colleges to release information about proven acts of hazing on their websites. They must include when each incident occurred, the investigative findings and the discipline or punishment for the violation. 

The law, part of a bill signed by Governor Eric Holcomb this month, will take effect July 1.

Rep. Jake Teshka (R-North Liberty) proposed the new rule. He said the definition of hazing is already established in Indiana law, but this change requires Greek organizations to be more open. 

“This will help students as they’re doing their research into whether or not they want to join a certain sorority or fraternity,” said Rep. Teshka during a hearing on the bill in the House Education Committee. “It brings another level of transparency into hazing incidents on campus.”

The North American Interfraternity Conference and the National Panhellenic Conference lobbied together for this language, a spokeswoman for the Interfraternity Conference told WFYI. 

Those national organizations oversee and support chapter fraternities and sororities. They partnered with parents whose children were killed by acts of hazing to form an anti-hazing coalition. 

The coalition is “working to eradicate hazing through aggressive student educational outreach, new state-level efforts to strengthen criminal and civil penalties for hazing and federal and state advocacy to use transparency to make lasting cultural change in student organizations and on university campuses,” Hillary Brewer with the Interfraternity Conference wrote in an email. 

Purdue University spokesman Tim Doty said the West Lafayette campus already publishes sanctions online for organizations caught hazing or violating other rules. But regional campuses are not included in the online listing of hazing incidents.

Nineteen Purdue student organizations are under active disciplinary sanction for offenses like hazing, alcohol and endangerment, the university’s website details. 

Indiana University also maintains an online list of hazing incidents at the Bloomington campus. Mark Bode, IU’s spokesman, said the university is reviewing the legislation and will make changes if necessary to comply with its rules.

“That includes working to create similar websites for Indianapolis and the regional campuses to be in compliance with the new legislation,” Bode wrote in an email.

The IU website lists five Indiana University Greek organizations on cease and desist for hazing this school year.

Incidents may be removed from the website based on new information from the investigation, if an organization rectifies the behavior or if the case is fully adjudicated or reaches a resolution, Bode wrote.

Rachel Fradette is the WFYI Statehouse education reporter. Contact Rachel at rfradette@wfyi.org.

 

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