The Texas Legislature enacted an anti-hazing law in 1987. The state law provides penal sanctions in the event of a conviction of hazing. According to this law, individuals or organizations engaging in hazing could be subject to fines and charged with a criminal offense.
Hazing on the part of students, faculty or staff is strictly forbidden, whether on or off campus. Texas Woman’s University students are expected to be partners in fulfilling the mission of the University by creating and maintaining standards within student groups, teams and organizations that are conducive to personal growth and development. If student groups, teams and organizations are to play an integral part in the University’s plan, they must set standards that encourage each individual to achieve his or her greatest potential. Hazing is the antithesis of this goal because it results in diminishing an individual’s pride and self-esteem. The University will take disciplinary action against individuals and/or groups who are involved in hazing activities. Such disciplinary action may be taken independently of state or local prosecutorial actions.
State 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 for the purpose of pledging, being initiated into, affiliating with, holding office in, or maintaining membership in an organization whose members are or include students at an educational institution if the act:
- Is any type of physical brutality such as whipping, beating, striking, branding, electronic shocking, placing of a harmful substance on the body, or similar activity;
- Involves sleep deprivation, exposure to the elements, confinement in a small space, calisthenics, or other similar 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;
- Involves consumption of a food, liquid, alcoholic beverage, liquor, drug, or other substance which subjects the student to an unreasonable risk or harm or which adversely affects the mental or physical health or safety of the student;
- Is any activity that induces, causes or requires the student to perform a duty or task which involves a violation of the Penal Code.
- Involves coercing the student to consume a drug or an alcoholic beverage or liquor in an amount that would lead a reasonable person to believe that the student is intoxicated.
Personal Hazing Offense
A person commits a hazing offense if the person:
- Engages in hazing
- Solicits, encourages, directs, aids, or attempts to aid another in engaging in hazing
- Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly permits hazing to occur
- Has firsthand knowledge of the planning of a specific hazing incident involving a student in an educational institution, or has firsthand knowledge that a specific hazing incident has occurred, and knowingly fails to report said knowledge in writing to the Office of Student Life, the Office of Civility and Community Standards or other appropriate entity or official of the institution
University Disciplinary Rules
The law does not restrict the right of Texas Woman’s University to enforce its own rules against hazing, and the University will take disciplinary action for conduct that constitutes hazing regardless of whether public authorities prosecute students under the state hazing law.
Because hazing is anathema to the culture at Texas Woman’s University, the expectations regarding student behavior and hazing exceed the expectations under state law. Students are encouraged to become familiar the TWU hazing policy.
The disciplinary actions assigned/determined in a particular case will vary dependent on the nature of the conduct involved, the circumstances and conditions that existed at the time and the results that followed such conduct.
Possible Actions include but are not limited to:
- Disciplinary warning
- Disciplinary probation
- Withholding grades, official transcript or degree
- Bar against readmission or drop from current enrollment and bar against readmission
- Required participation in specific educational programs
- Suspension of rights and privileges
- Revocation of degree, denial of degree and/or withdrawal of diploma
Immunity from Prosecution Available
In an effort to encourage reporting of hazing incidents, the court may grant immunity from civil or criminal prosecution to any person reporting a specific hazing incident involving a student in an educational institution to the Office of Civility and Community Standards, the Office of Student Life, or other appropriate official at TWU. A person reporting their own act of hazing or reporting in bad faith or with malice is not protected by this section.
Texas Woman’s University Amnesty Statement
As stated in the Student Code of Conduct, amnesty includes:
For Reporting Parties: The University provides amnesty to Reporting Parties who may be hesitant to report incidents to University officials because they fear that they themselves may be accused of minor policy violations, such as underage drinking, at the time of the incident. Educational options may be explored, but no conduct proceedings or discipline will result.
For Those Who Offer Assistance: To encourage students to offer help and assistance to others, University pursues a policy of amnesty for minor violations when students offer help to others in need. At the discretion of the Director for the Office of Civility & Community Standards or appointed designee, amnesty may also be extended on a case-by-case basis to the person receiving assistance. Educational options may be explored, but no conduct proceedings or discipline will result.
For Those Who Report and/or Witness Serious Violations: Students who are engaged in minor violations but who choose to bring related serious violations by others to the attention of the University are offered amnesty for their minor violations. Educational options may be explored, but no conduct proceedings or record will result. Abuse of amnesty can result in a decision by the Director for the Office of Civility & Community Standards not to extend amnesty to the same person repeatedly.
In accordance with requirements of the Texas Education Code, the following organization(s) have been disciplined for hazing and/or convicted for hazing as of the last three years when the sanction was complete.
Incidents at TWU
Sigma Lambda Alpha Sorority - penalty issued, Feb. 12, 2020
Placed on Disciplinary Probation due to hazing and non-hazing violations. Eligible to return to good standing, pending completion of sanctions, at the end of fall 2021.
To report an act of hazing, please contact the Office of Civility and Community Standards at 940-898-2968 or report an incedent. The information contained in this memorandum can be found on the Office of Student Life’s website.
Page last updated 3:49 PM, March 23, 2020