New Jersey Bill Proposes Financial Aid Consequences for Hazing

The bill would prevent anyone convicted of hazing or aggravated hazing from receiving state financial aid.
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Published on February 27, 2024
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  • As many as 105 college students in the U.S. have died from hazing since 2000, according to a BestColleges report.
  • In New Jersey, Bill A3665 would remove state financial aid eligibility from anyone convicted of hazing.
  • Forty-four states have anti-hazing laws.
  • In November, Republicans and Democrats in Congress introduced a bill to require colleges and universities to publicly display hazing incident data.

A new New Jersey bill could prevent students convicted of hazing from getting financial aid.

Democratic Assemblywoman Carol A. Murphy introduced Bill A3665 on Feb. 12 to prevent anyone convicted of hazing or aggravated hazing from receiving state financial aid. Federal financial aid would be unaffected.

Hazing is "committing acts against an individual or forcing an individual into committing an act that creates a risk for harm in order for the individual to be initiated into or affiliated with an organization," according to a study in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine.

"Recent high-profile hazing incidents, such as the death of a fraternity pledge at Pennsylvania State University in February 2017, Louisiana State University in September 2017, and Florida State University in November 2017, demonstrate that hazing continues to be a problem with severe and fatal consequences," the New Jersey bill reads.

BestColleges previously reported that as many as 105 college students since 2000 have died from hazing in the U.S. Seventy-six percent of hazing-related deaths were associated with fraternities.

According to New Jersey's anti-hazing law, hazing includes:

  • Causing someone to violate the law
  • Coercing someone to consume food or substances
  • Subjecting someone to physical or emotional harm
  • Subjecting someone to abuse, mistreatment, or harassment physically, emotionally, or sexually

According to the New Jersey Monitor, this is the fourth time Murphy has introduced the bill, with the most successful introduction making it through unanimously in the state Senate but stalling in the Assembly in 2019.

As of August 2023, 44 states have anti-hazing laws, but only 30 include a "component of consent," which says that a person's willingness to participate does not determine if hazing did or did not happen, according to the BestColleges report.

The strongest laws include:

  • Andrew's Law (2019), a Florida law allowing legal action against students assisting in hazing, whether present for the hazing or not
  • Collin's Law (2021), an Ohio law increasing consequences for hazing and requiring colleges to publicly detail hazing policy violations
  • The Max Gruver Act (2021), a Georgia law similar to Collin's Law

National Efforts to Stop Hazing

In November, the Stop Campus Hazing Act, a bipartisan, bicameral bill that would require colleges and universities to publicly report hazing, was introduced in Congress.

No U.S. health agency tracks hazing incidents, injuries, or deaths, according to the BestColleges report.

One of the most widely cited sources available is a 2008 national study of student hazing presented by two professors. It found that over half of college students in clubs, teams, and organizations experienced hazing, and 95% of cases went unreported.

"Unfortunately, hazing is a dangerous — and at times deadly — reality, and we must work to end it," Democratic U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota said in a joint statement with Republican U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana.

"Our bipartisan legislation will improve hazing prevention efforts on college campuses as well as reporting of hazing incidents to make sure we have the information we need to stop this abuse and keep students safe."

The act would require a Campus Hazing Transparency Report from colleges stating hazing violations, organization names involved, and when and where it happened.