Hazing News

Texas State Phi Kappa Psi Pledge Matthew Ellis dies in San Marcos:

Pledge Matt Ellis dies following fraternity initiation


Here is the story link


Hazing Memorandum

TO:       All Students, Faculty and Staff

FROM: Dr. Margarita M. Arellano

Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students

RE:      Hazing Memorandum

DATE:    September 27, 2017


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 State 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, 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 an organization whose members are or include students at an educational institution. The term includes but is not limited to:

1) Any type of physical brutality such as whipping, beating, striking, branding, electronic shocking, placing of a harmful substance on the body, or similar activity;

  1. 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;
  2. Any activity involving 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;
  3. Any activity that intimidates or threatens the student with ostracism that subjects the student to extreme mental stress, shame, 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
  4. Any activity that induces, causes or requires the student to perform a duty or task which involves a violation of the Penal Code or Code of Student Conduct.


  1. 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 Dean of Students office, Student Involvement @ LBJSC or other appropriate entity or official of the institution


  1. University Disciplinary Rules

The law does not restrict the right of Texas State 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.


· Hazing with or without the consent of the student is prohibited by Texas State. Both the individual(s) inflicting the hazing and the person submitting to the hazing are subject to disciplinary action. The fact that an individual consented to or acquiesced in a hazing activity is not a defense to prosecution of an offense under the hazing law, and neither will it be under the University’s disciplinary process

· Initiations or activities by organizations may not include any feature which is dangerous, harmful or degrading to the student. A violation of this prohibition renders both the organization and participating individuals subject to discipline


  1. Disciplinary Actions

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

· Restitution

· Suspension of rights and privileges

· Suspension

· Expulsion

· Revocation of degree, denial of degree and/or withdrawal of diploma


  1. 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 Dean of Students or other appropriate official at Texas State. A person reporting in bad faith or with malice is not protected by this section.


  1. Texas State Alcohol and Drug Amnesty Statement

Texas State is committed to the holistic well-being of its students. In an effort to encourage Texas State students to call Emergency 911 in case of a drug or alcohol related medical emergency, a student will be granted amnesty from formal university disciplinary procedures if:

· The student requested medical assistance in response to the possible alcohol or drug overdose of another person;

· The student was the “first” person to make a request for medical      assistance;

· The student remained on the scene until medical assistance arrived; and

· The student cooperated with medical assistance and law enforcement personnel.

The reporting student will be expected to provide an account of the episode/event to a university official regardless of the amnesty standard being applied.


  1. Disciplined Organizations

In accordance with requirements of the Texas Education Code, Section 51.936(c), 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.

By Hank Nuwer

Journalist Hank Nuwer is the Alaska author of Hazing: Destroying Young Lives; Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. In April of 2024, the Alaska Press Club awarded him first place in the Best Columnist division and Best Humorist, second place.

He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His current book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press. He is married to Malgorzata Wroblewska Nuwer of Warsaw, Poland and Fairbanks, Alaska. Nuwer is a former columnist for the Greenville (Ohio)Early Bird and former managing editor of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner in Alaska.
Nuwer was named the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists columnist of the year in 2021 for his “After Darke” column in the Early Bird. He also won third place for the column in 2022 from the Indiana chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He and his wife Gosia, recently of Union City, Ind., have owned 20 acres in Alaska for many years. “The move is a sort-of coming home for us,” said Nuwer. As a journalist, he’s written about the Alaskan Iditarod sled-dog race and other Alaska topics. Read his musings in his blog at Real Alaska Daily-- and in his weekly column "Far from Randolph" in the Winchester Star-Gazette of Randolph County, Indiana.

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