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Anti-Hazing Law: Where’s the Continuity?

Earlier, we looked at our own responsibility to prevent hazing. I stated that the attitude people take (“It will never happen here…”) and the different levels of understanding the problem is what allows it to continue to happen. And while there is a certain personal responsibility to be taken in order to prevent hazing, there is another aspect to consider… the law.

As hazing has increased over the past 20 years, so have the laws pertaining to hazing. Since 1990, the states that have anti- hazing laws have increased from 20 to 44 states. In 41 states, it is also now illegal to fail to report a hazing incident. Given the increase in laws pertaining to the subject, some may say that progress is being made.

However, we can’t forget that six states don’t view hazing as a crime, and even more so, nine states don’t view a failure to report a hazing incident as illegal. Where is the continuity? To better describe my point, I look to a program from Animal Planet, Finding Bigfoot. The show is based around a group of four researchers who are trying to prove the existence of Bigfoot. Three of the group members believe, unequivocally, that Bigfoot exists, while the fourth member, the skeptic, is searching for empirical evidence to prove the creature’s existence.

So what does this have to do with hazing law? Well, in the show, there is no congruence as to whether the creature exists, simply, because no one has actually “seen” it. But hazing is not like Bigfoot. We “have” seen hazing, we “have” seen how dangerous that behavior can be. And if we have empirical proof that hazing is real and that it is a problem, why isn’t there consistency in the laws from state to state? How can you expect to deter something if we can’t all agree this is an illegal behavior?

Season finale – 50 states need anti-hazing laws- Bigfoot (hazing) was found years ago, why are we still acting like we’re not sure?

-Mike Repertorio, Student President

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