In response to the recent hazing death of a Penn State sophomore, a Pennsylvania congressman has introduced a new anti-hazing bill. Last month, Congressman Pat Meehan (R) introduced the REACH Act (Reporting and Educating About Campus Hazing).
The REACH Act would require college campuses to provide more education about college hazing, as well as require schools to adhere to better reporting rules.
These rules would be similar to what colleges are now required to report in cases of sexual assault. The proposed new law would provide students with the education and tools to be able to recognize hazing and how they can report it.
According to Congressman Meehan, 55 percent of college students will experience some type of hazing incident, yet 95 percent of those victims will never report it.
It is this type of culture which creates the tragedies that so many families have had to struggle with after their son or daughter has been victimized, like in the death of Timothy Piazza. He died in February during a binge-drinking hazing party at a fraternity house located off Penn State campus.
Congresswoman Marcia Fudge of Ohio is co-sponsoring the bill and says that not only is better education for students needed, but the better reporting rules are necessary to determine just how prevalent the issue really is.
In addition to the Penn State fatal hazing incident, there have been several other cases which have made national headlines. These include multiple cases in South Carolina and Florida.
Hazing victims include both male and female and are often students involved in school athletic programs, band, and fraternity and sorority pledging.
Hazing can include forcing victims to consume deadly amounts of alcohol, such as what happened to Timothy Piazza, or there can be violent beatings used as part of the hazing “initiation” process. This was the case in the death of death of Robert Champion Jr., a student at FAMU.
As part of his initiation into the school’s band, he was hit 100 times as he walked from one end of a charter bus to another. He later died from the beating. Another victim who survived the attack described how their heads were covered with blankets and then they were beaten on their back with mallets and sticks.
Upon hearing of the new bill, attorney Neal Goldstein commented, “I agree with Congressman Meehan that stronger measures need to be put in place to stop these needless deaths.
Schools need to be constantly aware of what dangerous activities may be going on within student groups and organizations. And students need to be given the tools to know how to get help if they are being bullied and hazed.”