Hazing

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley is committed to providing a safe educational environment for all students. UTRGV does not tolerate hazing by any group or individual affiliated with the University. Individual students and organizations are expected to abide by state law, Regent’s Rules, and University policies associated with the prohibition of hazing.

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 food, liquid, alcoholic beverage, liquor, drug, or other substance which subjects the student to an unreasonable risk of harm or which 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.

Hazing Policies and Information

Report on Hazing Violations

The University will provide a report on hazing violations that includes the following information:

  • Name of the organization disciplined or convicted.
  • Date on which the incident occurred, or the citation was issued.
  • Date on which the institution’s investigation into the incident was initiated.
  • A general description of:
    • The incident
    • The violations of the institution’s code of conduct or the criminal charges
    • The findings of the institution or court
    • Any sanctions imposed by the institution, or any fines imposed by the court, on the organization
  • The date on which the institution’s disciplinary process was resolved or on which the conviction became final.

The Office of the Dean of Students will email students to notify them of the Texas law, the definition of hazing, university disciplinary rules, and to share the report on hazing violations.

Document   Issued Date
Spring 2020 Memo December 13, 2019
Fall 2019 Memo September 16, 2019
Spring 2019 Memo February 7, 2019

Report Potential Hazing

Student Rights and Responsibilities provides Vaqueros Report It, an online reporting system that allows students, staff and faculty a way to report any potential violations. Any person who suspects hazing should report through the Student Violations form, which is listed in the Vaqueros Report It webpage.

Urgent matters should be reported to local police or the University Police Department at (956) 882-4911.

Hazing Prevention Resources

More information

For questions or comments, you may contact Student Rights and Responsibilities or the University Police Department:

Student Rights and Responsibilities

Email: srr@utrgv.edu

Location

Brownsville Campus:
Office: Cavalry 204
Phone: (956) 882-8292

 

Edinburg Campus:
Office: University Center 315
Phone: (956) 665-5375

University Police Department

Email: police@utrgv.edu

Phone Directory

Contact   Phone
UTRGV Police Directory (956) 882-7777
UTRGV Campus Emergency (956) 882-4911
Emergency 911

Location

Brownsville/Harlingen Campus:
2671 FJRM Ave.
Brownsville, TX 78520

 

Edinburg Campus:
Academic Services Facility Bldg.
501 N. Sugar Rd.
Edinburg TX 78539