Senate Bill No. 53

(By Senators Blatnik, Bowman, Oliverio,

Dugan, Grubb, Helmick, Miller and White)


[Originating in the Committee on Education;

reported February 10, 1995.]


A BILL to amend chapter eighteen of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, by adding thereto a new article, designated article sixteen, relating to education; higher education; creating the antihazing law; providing definitions; prohibiting hazing; providing for enforcement by institutions; and providing civil and criminal penalties.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That chapter eighteen of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new article, designated article sixteen, to read as follows:

§18-16-1. Short title.
This article shall be known and may be cited as the "Antihazing Law".
§18-16-2. Definitions.
(a) "Hazing" means any action or situation on or off the premises of an institution of higher education which recklessly or intentionally endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student or which willfully destroys or removes public or private property for the purpose of initiation or admission into or affiliation with, or as a condition for continued membership in,any organization operating under the sanction of or recognized as an organization by an institution of higher education. The term includes, but is not limited to, any brutality of a physical nature, such as whipping, beating, paddling, branding, physical or psychological shocks, forced calisthenics, exposure to the elements, forced consumption of any food, liquor, drug or other substance, forced road trips, forced morally degrading or humiliating games or activities or any other forced physical activity which could adversely affect the physical health or safety of the individual, and includes any activity which would subject the individual to extreme mental stress, such as sleep deprivation, forced exclusion from social contact, forced conduct which could result in extreme embarrassment, or any other forced activity which could adversely affect the mental health or dignity of the individual, or any willful destruction or removal of public or private property. For the purpose of this definition, any activity as described in this definition upon which the initiation or admission into an
affiliation with or continued membership in an organization is directly or indirectly conditioned shall be presumed to be a "forced" activity, the willingness of an individual to participate in such activity notwithstanding.
(b) "Institution of higher education" or "institution" means any public or private institution as defined in section two, article one, chapter eighteen-b of this code.
§18-16-3. Hazing prohibited.
Any person who causes or participates in hazing is guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than three hundred dollars nor more than five hundred dollars, or confined in a county or regional jail, not less than forty-eight hours nor more than one year, or both fined and imprisoned.
§18-16-4. Enforcement by institution.
(a) Antihazing policy. -- Each institution shall adopt a written antihazing policy and, pursuant to that policy, shall adopt rules prohibiting students or other persons associated with any organization operating under the sanction of or recognized as an organization by the institution from engaging in any activity which can be described as hazing.
(b) Enforcement and penalties. --
(1) Each institution shall provide a program for the enforcement of such rules and shall adopt appropriate penalties for violations of such rules to be administered by the person or agency at the institution responsible for the sanctioning or recognition of such organizations.
(2) Such penalties may include the imposition of fines, the withholding of diplomas or transcripts pending compliance with the rules or pending payment of fines and the imposition of probation, suspension or dismissal.
(3) In the case of an organization which authorizes hazing in blatant disregard of such rules, penalties may also include recision of permission for that organization to operate on campus property or to otherwise operate under the sanction or recognition of the institution.
(4) All penalties imposed under the authority of this section shall be in addition to any penalty imposed for violation of section three of this article or of any of the criminal laws of this state or for violation of any other institutional rule to which the violator may be subject.
(5) Rules adopted pursuant hereto apply to acts conducted on or off campus whenever such acts are deemed to constitute hazing.