University Statement on Hazing
Involvement in student organizations and groups should offer students personal development, education, and enriching experiences. Hazing is a destructive and harassing activity that not only is in opposition to those goals, but also violates state and national laws. In turn, the University of the Incarnate Word regards any form of hazing as an unproductive and hazardous custom contrary to the Mission of UIW. The University of the Incarnate Word issues the following extension of the State of Texas law. Under the current law, individuals or organizations could be subject to fines and charged with a criminal offense for hazing.
According to the law, a person can commit a hazing offense by engaging in a hazing activity, but also by soliciting, directing, encouraging, aiding, or attempting another in hazing by knowingly or recklessly allowing hazing to occur or by failing to report in writing to the appropriate university official firsthand knowledge that a hazing incident has occurred. The fact that a person consented to or acquiesced in a hazing activity is not a defense to prosecution for hazing under state law.
Because of UIW’s dedication to the highest ideals of education and society, participation in hazing related activities is not consistent with membership in any university organization or group and will not be tolerated, whether the participation is as an instigator or as a victim. It is the responsibility of all organization officers or groups to ensure that this information is distributed, read and understood by all members of their organization. Ignorance of this information is not a defense to university disciplinary procedures, civil, or criminal liability.
- 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;
- 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;
- involves consumption of a food, liquid, alcoholic beverage, liquor, drug, or other substance, that subjects the student to an unreasonable risk of harm or that adversely affects the mental or physical health or safety of the student;
- is any activity that intimidates or threatens the student with ostracism, that subjects the student to extreme mental stress, shame, or humiliation, 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 subdivision;
- is any activity that induces, causes, or requires the student to perform a duty or task that involves a violation of the Student Code of Conduct; other university policies; or local, state, or federal laws; or involves coercing the student to consume:
- a drug;
- or an alcoholic beverage or liquor in an amount that would lead a reasonable person to believe that the student is intoxicated
The law defines organization as 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.
For more information, please refer to Texas Hazing Laws: Title 2, G, Chapter 37, Subchapter F, 37.151.
Any person who voluntarily reports a specific hazing incident involving a student to the Dean of Campus Life 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:
- 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
- as determined by the Dean of Campus Life or other appropriate official of the institution designated by the institution, cooperates in good faith throughout any institutional process regarding the incident [report].
Immunity extends to participation in any judicial proceeding resulting from the report. A person is not immune if the person:
- reports the person’s own act of hazing;
- reports an incident of hazing in bad faith or with malice [is not protected by this section].
Effective September 1, 2019, as mandated by law, UIW will, before the first class day of the Fall and Spring semesters, provide each enrolled student a summary of the hazing policy and a copy of the UIW Hazing Report, which provides information on hazing committed on or off campus by an organization registered with or recognized by UIW. Additionally, UIW will provide each student who attends student orientation a notice regarding the nature and availability of the UIW Hazing Report, including the report’s Internet website address. This report will include:
- The name of the organization;
- The date of the incident;
- The date the University began its investigation;
- A general description of the incident;
- The findings of the University or court;
- The sanctions and/or imposed by the University or court;
- The date the investigation was resolved.