The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

University Police Division of Campus Safety & Security

Hazing Violation

What Is Hazing?

Hazing is both a violation of university policy and a criminal offense (Sections 37.151 et seq. and 51.936, Texas Education Code) and may result in arrest and prosecution by civil authorities as well as disciplinary action pursuant to the Regent's Rules and Regulations (Part One, Chapter VI, Sections 3.28 and 3.6). 

Hazing with or without the consent of a student is prohibited by the University and by the UT System. Both the hazer and the victim are subject to discipline. 

According to state law, a person can commit a hazing offense not only by engaging in a hazing activity, but also by soliciting, directing, encouraging, aiding or attempting to aid another in hazing; by intentionally, knowingly or recklessly allowing hazing to occur; or by failing to report in writing to the Dean of Students or other appropriate official of the institution first-hand knowledge that a hazing incident is planned or has occurred. The fact that a person consented to or acquiesced in a hazing activity is not a defense to prosecution for hazing under the law. 

In an effort to encourage reporting of hazing incidents, the law grants immunity from civil or criminal liability to any person who reports a specific hazing event to the Dean of Students or other appropriate official of the institution and immunizes that person from participation in any judicial proceeding resulting from that report. The penalty for failure to report is a fine of up to $1,000, up to 180 days in jail, or both. Penalties for other hazing offenses vary according to the severity of the injury which results and include fines from $5,000 to $10,000 and/or confinement for up to two years. 

The law does not affect or in any way restrict the right of the university to enforce its own rules against hazing. 

The law defines hazing as any intentional, knowing, or reckless act, occurring on or off the campus of an educational institution, by one person alone or acting with others, directed against a student, that endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student for the purpose of pledging, being initiated into, affiliating with, holding office in, or maintaining membership in any organization whose members are or include students at an educational institution. Hazing includes but is not limited to:

  • Any type of physical brutality, such as whipping, beating, striking, branding, electronic shocking, placing of a harmful substance on the body, or similar activity;
  • Any type of physical activity, such as sleep deprivation, exposure to the elements, confinement in a small space, calisthenics, or other activity that subjects the student to an unreasonable risk of harm or that adversely affects the mental or physical health or safety of the student;
  • Any activity involving consumption of a food, liquid, alcoholic beverage, liquor, drug, or other substance that subjects to an unreasonable risk of harm or that adversely affects the mental or physical health of the student;
  • Any activity that intimidates or threatens the student with ostracism, that subjects the student to extreme mental stress, shame, or humiliation, or that adversely affects the mental health or dignity of the student or discourages the student from entering or remaining registered in an educational institution, or that may reasonably be expected to cause a student to leave the organization or the institution rather than submit to acts described in this subsection; and
  • Any activity that induces, causes, or requires the student to perform a duty or task which involves a violation of the Penal Code.

UTRGV Hazing Memo