Bill Text: NJ S3628 | 2018-2019 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: Requires institutions of higher education and public and nonpublic high schools and middle schools to adopt anti-hazing policies; expands activities encompassing criminal hazing and upgrades penalties for engaging in these activities.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2019-03-21 - Introduced in the Senate, Referred to Senate Judiciary Committee [S3628 Detail]

Download: New_Jersey-2018-S3628-Introduced.html

SENATE, No. 3628

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

218th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED MARCH 21, 2019

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  TROY SINGLETON

District 7 (Burlington)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Requires institutions of higher education and public and nonpublic high schools and middle schools to adopt anti-hazing policies; expands activities encompassing criminal hazing and upgrades penalties for engaging in these activities.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

 


An Act concerning hazing, amending P.L.1980, c.169, and supplementing chapters 3 and 37 of Title 18A of the New Jersey Statutes.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    (New section)  As used in sections 2 through 4 of P.L.   , c.   (C.    ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill):

     "Organization" means a fraternity, sorority, association, corporation, order, society, corps, club or service, social or similar group, whose members are primarily minors, students, or alumni of the organization or an institution of higher education; or a national or international organization with which such a group is affiliated.

     "Student" means an individual who attends or has applied to attend or has been admitted to an institution of higher education.

 

     2.    (New section)  Each public and independent institution of higher education shall adopt a written policy against hazing and, pursuant to that policy, adopt rules prohibiting students or other persons associated with an organization operating under the sanction of, or recognized as, an organization by the institution from engaging in hazing.  The institution of higher education shall post the policy at a publicly accessible location on the institution's Internet website and shall provide a copy of the policy, including the institution's rules, penalties, and program of enforcement, to each organization within the institution.

 

     3.    (New section)  a.  Each public and independent institution of higher education shall provide a program for the enforcement of the policy against hazing required under section 2 of P.L.   , c.   (C.   ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) and shall adopt appropriate penalties for violations of the policy to be administered by the individual or agency at the institution responsible for the sanctioning or recognition of the organization covered by the policy or by such other individual or agency deemed appropriate by the institution.

     b.    The penalties for violations of the policy may include:

     (1) imposition of fines;

     (2) the withholding of diplomas or transcripts pending compliance with the rules or payment of fines;

     (3) the rescission of permission for the organization to operate on campus or to otherwise operate under the sanction or recognition of the institution; and

     (4) the imposition of probation, suspension, dismissal, or expulsion.

     c.  A penalty imposed under this section shall be in addition to a penalty imposed for a violation of any other institutional rule to which the violator may be subject.

     d.  A policy adopted under section 2 of P.L.  , c.   (C.   ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) shall apply to each act conducted on or off campus if the acts are deemed to constitute hazing.

 

     4.    (New section)  a.  Each public and independent institution of higher education shall maintain a report which shall include information on all violations of the institution's anti-hazing policy and federal and State laws related to hazing that are reported to the institution.  Information on a reported violation shall be retained by the institution for five years.

     b.    The report shall include:

     (1)   the date when the subject was charged with a violation of the institution's anti-hazing policy or a federal or State law related to hazing;

     (2)   a general description of the violation, any investigation and findings by the institution and, if applicable, penalties imposed; and

     (3)   the date on which the matter was resolved.

     c.     An institution shall post the initial report at a publicly accessible location on the institution's Internet website by January 15, 2020.  The initial report shall include information concerning violations that have been reported to the institution for the five consecutive years prior to the effective date of this act, to the extent the institution has retained information concerning the violations.  An institution shall post an updated report biannually on January1 and August 1.

     d.    The report shall not include the personal identifying information of an individual.

 

     5.  (New section)  a.  Each board of education of a school district with a high school or middle school and the governing board or chief school administrator of a nonpublic high school or middle school shall adopt a written policy against hazing.

     b.    The board of education and governing board or chief school administrator shall ensure that students are informed of the anti-hazing policy, including the rules, penalties, and program of enforcement under the policy.

     c.     The board of education and governing board or chief school administrator shall post the policy on the district's or nonpublic school's publicly accessible Internet website.

 

     6.    (New section)  a.  Each board of education of a school district with a high school or middle school and the governing board or chief school administrator of a nonpublic high school or middle school shall provide a program for the enforcement of the policy against hazing required under section 5 of P.L.   , c.   (C.   ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) and shall adopt appropriate penalties for violation of the policy.

     b.    The penalties for violations of the policy may include:

     (1)   the withholding of diplomas or transcripts pending compliance with the rules;

     (2)   the rescission of permission for the organization or group, whose student members are being penalized under the anti-hazing policy, to operate on campus or school property or to otherwise operate under the sanction or recognition of the school district or nonpublic school; and

     (3)   the imposition of probation, suspension, dismissal or expulsion.

     c.     A penalty imposed under this section shall be in addition to a penalty imposed for violation of any other school district or nonpublic school rule to which the violator may be subject.

     d.    A policy adopted under section 5 of P.L.   , c.    (C.   ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) shall apply to each act conducted on or off campus if the acts are deemed to constitute hazing.

 

     7.    Section 1 of P.L.1980, c.169 (C.2C:40-3) is amended to read as follows:

     1.    a.  A person is guilty of hazing, a disorderly persons offense, if, in connection with initiation of applicants to or members of a student or fraternal organization, whose membership is primarily students or alumni of the organization or an institution of higher education, he knowingly or recklessly [organizes, promotes, facilitates or engages in any conduct, other than competitive athletic events, which places or may place another person in danger of bodily injury] causes, coerces, or forces another person to do any of the following:

     (1) violate federal or state criminal law;

     (2) consume any food, liquid, alcoholic liquid, drug or other substance which subjects the other person to a risk of emotional or physical harm;

     (3) endure brutality of a physical nature, including whipping, beating, branding, calisthenics, or exposure to the elements;

     (4) endure brutality of a mental nature, including activity adversely affecting the mental health or dignity of the individual, sleep deprivation, exclusion from social contact, or conduct that could result in extreme embarrassment;

     (5) endure brutality of a sexual nature; or

     (6) endure any other activity that creates a reasonable likelihood of bodily injury to the person.

     If an act of hazing prohibited in this subsection results in bodily injury, it is a crime of the fourth degree.

     Hazing shall not include any reasonable and customary athletic, law enforcement, or military training, contests, competitions, or events.

     b.    A person is guilty of aggravated hazing, a crime of the [fourth] third degree, if he commits an act prohibited in subsection a.  of this section which results in serious bodily injury to another person.

     c.     A student or fraternal organization described in subsection a. of this section, or an institution of higher education, that knowingly or recklessly promotes or facilitates a person to commit an act of hazing or aggravated hazing prohibited in this section is subject to a fine of not more than $5,000 for each violation of subsection a. of this section, and a fine of not more than $15,000 for each violation of subsection b. of this section.

     d.    Any property which has been, or is intended to be, utilized in furtherance of any unlawful hazing activity set forth in this section by a person, student or fraternal organization, or institution of higher education, as well as any proceeds derived from the unlawful activity, shall be subject to forfeiture pursuant to chapter 62 of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes.

     e.     (1) A person, student or fraternal organization, or institution of higher education, and another person acting in concert with the person, organization, or institution, shall be immune from prosecution under this section if the person, or employee, officer, or other agent for the organization or institution:

     (a)   called 9-1-1, or otherwise contacted campus security, police, or emergency services, and reported that a person was in need of medical assistance due to an act of hazing as described in this section;

     (b)   the caller provided the caller's name and, if applicable, the name of the person acting in concert with the caller to the 9-1-1 operator or other recipient of the emergency contact;

     (c)   the caller was the first to make the 9-1-1 report or other emergency report; and

     (d)   the caller and, if applicable, the person acting in concert with the caller remained on the scene with the person in need of medical assistance until assistance arrived and cooperated with the emergency services on the scene.

     (2) The person who received medical assistance as a result of the call placed pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection shall also be immune from prosecution under this section.

     (3) In addition to any other applicable immunity or limitation on civil liability, a law enforcement officer or other official empowered to act as an officer for the arrest of offenders against the laws of this State, or a prosecutor, who, acting in good faith, arrested or charged a person who is thereafter determined to be entitled to immunity from prosecution under this subsection shall
not be subject to any civil liability for the wrongful arrest or charge.

(cf: P.L.1980, c.169, s.1)

 

     8.    Section 2 of P.L.1980, c.169 (C.2C:40-4) is amended to read as follows:

     2.    Notwithstanding any other provision of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes to the contrary, consent or the fact that the act of hazing as described in section 1 of P.L.1980, c.169 (C.2C:40-4) was sanctioned or approved by the student or fraternal organization or the institution of higher education shall not be available as a defense to a prosecution under this Act.

(cf: P.L.1980, c.169, s.2)

 

     9.    This act shall take effect on the first day of the seventh month next following the date of enactment, except the Commissioner of Education and the Attorney General may take such anticipatory administrative action in advance as shall be necessary for the implementation of this act.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill requires institutions of higher education, boards of education of school districts with a high school or middle school, and the governing board or chief school administrator of a nonpublic school with a high school or middle school, to adopt a written anti-hazing policy.  The institutions and schools are required to provide a program for the enforcement of the anti-hazing policy and adopt penalties for violations of the policy.  The bill provides that the penalties may include the withholding of diplomas or transcripts pending compliance with the rules and the imposition of probation, suspension, dismissal, or expulsion.

     Under the bill, an institution of higher education is required to maintain a report which will include information on all violations of the institution's anti-hazing policy and federal and State laws related to hazing, for violations reported to the institution.  The institution is required to post the report on the institution's website.  The first report posted after the effective date of the bill will include information concerning violations that were reported to the institution for the five consecutive years prior to the effective date of the bill, to the extent the institution has retained that information.  The report will be updated biannually on January 1 and August 1.

     The bill also amends the State's Criminal Code in regard to hazing activities.  Under section 1 of P.L.1980, c.169 (C.2C:40-3), "hazing" is generally described as "conduct, other than competitive athletic events, which places or may place another person in danger of bodily injury."  The bill's provisions broaden the types of activities which would be considered hazing to include any conduct that causes, coerces, or forces another person to:

     (1) violate federal or state criminal law;

     (2) consume any food, liquid, alcoholic liquid, drug or other substance which subjects the other person to a risk of emotional or physical harm;

     (3) endure brutality of a physical nature, including whipping, beating, branding, calisthenics, or exposure to the elements;

     (4) endure brutality of a mental nature, including activity adversely affecting the mental health or dignity of the individual, sleep deprivation, exclusion from social contact or conduct that could result in extreme embarrassment;

     (5) endure brutality of a sexual nature; or

     (6) endure any other activity that creates a reasonable likelihood of bodily injury to the person.

     Under current law, hazing is a disorderly persons offense unless the act results in serious bodily injury to another person, in which case the act is classified as aggravated hazing and graded a crime of the fourth degree.  Under the bill, hazing would continue to be a disorderly persons offense, unless the hazing results in bodily injury which would make it a crime of the fourth degree.  The bill upgrades aggravated hazing from a crime of the fourth degree to a crime of the third degree.

     The bill also sets forth liability for any student or fraternal organization, or institution of higher education, which knowingly or recklessly promotes or facilitates a person to commit an act of hazing.  The entity would be subject to a fine of not more than $5,000 for each hazing violation and $15,000 for each violation of aggravated hazing.

     Immunity from prosecution for hazing would be offered to any person, student or fraternal organization, or institution of higher education, as well as another person acting in concert with the person, organization, or institution if 9-1-1 is called or other emergency services contacted.  In order for this immunity to apply, the caller and, if applicable, person acting in concert with the caller would have to remain on the scene with a person injured as a result of hazing and cooperate with emergency services upon their arrival.

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