The Rite of Passage to Nowhere: Understanding the Dangers of Hazing

College is supposed to be a time of substantial growth for an individual on an academic, social, and psychological level, not a time of severe harassment, abuse, or humiliation. Hazing is responsible for a wide range of degrading practices with the potential to cause a student to suffer serious injury, illness, or even death. Not to place blame entirely on university fraternities and sororities, hazing unfortunately occurs among several other types of groups. Clubs, sports teams, workplaces, gangs, and even members of the military have been known to initiate or experience hazing practices.

A lot of college students want to fit in and be accepted by a certain group of people. Hazing can often be the “way in”, but is it really worth it?

Even though a fraternity, sorority, or other group may seem like the type of crowd you want to hang around with, if they use hazing as an initiation process or means of accepting you, it may be time to rethink things.

In terms of the law and who is legally responsible for any harm that befalls a person as a result of hazing, depending on the circumstances, a university may be held accountable as well as the people in charge of maintaining the group that led the hazing activities. Proving liability for hazing injuries can involve complex areas of civil rights, personal injury, premises liability, and even assault/battery laws.

Many states consider hazing a felony. Matt’s Law, SB 1454, was established in memory of Matthew Carrington who died from hazing practices at Chico State University in 2005, making it a felony in California to cause serious injury or death as a result of hazing. Prior to Matt’s Law, hazing was only considered a misdemeanor in California.

Victims of hazing as well as their families may be able to seek justice on both a civil and criminal law level. As injury lawyers in Los Angeles at Carpenter, Zuckerman & Rowley, we fight for the underdog who goes up against large institutions and big business. We make our clients’ needs our priority, ensuring that their rights are protected and they obtain a successful case result. To find out more about how our law firm can help, call 213-514-8332 for a free consultation.