Hazing is a type of initiation process that is used to welcome new members into the fraternity. Although it can vary from one organization to another, in general, there are three types of hazing: physical, mental, and emotional. These acts often take on forms such as sleep deprivation, excessive exercise, or isolation. It may also include humiliation tasks like making pledges wear embarrassing outfits in public or forcing them to drink alcohol until they vomit.
Hazing has been a part of fraternity initiation processes since the 1800s, with its popularity rising after the Civil War. Today, fraternity hazing has become a serious issue on college campuses, with some highly-publicized incidents even resulting in student deaths.
Should I report hazing to a fraternity hazing lawyer?
If you or your child has been the victim of fraternity hazing, you should report the situation to a fraternity hazing lawyer. An experienced attorney can evaluate the circumstances of the situation and inform you of your rights. The type of legal action you can take depends on the facts of your case and the state where the hazing occurred.
Criminal Charges for Hazing
For example, 44 states have laws on the books that prohibit hazing, with 13 of those states classifying hazing as a felony offense when it causes death or serious injury. If the hazing occurred in one of these states, you may be able to pursue criminal charges against the guilty parties. A local fraternity hazing lawyer can advise you on the laws in your state.
School Disciplinary Actions
You may also be able to pursue university-level disciplinary action against fraternity hazers. At most schools, hazing is a serious violation of the Student Code of Conduct. Students who are found to violate these rules can be suspended or even expelled, depending on the severity of the incident. Your attorney can help you make and support your allegations against the perpetrators.
In many situations, you may also be able to pursue a civil lawsuit against the people who hazed you. Some possible causes of action include:
- Intentional infliction of emotional distress
- Negligent infliction of emotional distress
If your college or university was aware of fraternity hazing occurring on campus or didn’t take appropriate actions to prevent it, you might be able to file a lawsuit against the school as well. You may also have cause to sue the fraternity itself. Civil claims related to hazing incidents can result in substantial financial awards for the victim.
When should I contact a fraternity hazing lawyer?
While it is only natural to feel ashamed after being victimized in a hazing incident, you shouldn’t let that stop you from contacting a fraternity hazing lawyer about your situation. An attorney who practices in this area of law can determine whether you experienced fraternity hazing and explain the best course of action you can take to hold the perpetrators responsible. Speaking up not only will help you, but it can also keep the same thing from happening to another student in the future.
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