New Jersey's 21st Legislative District

Senator Tom Kean, Jr.

Senator Kip Bateman
Senator Tom Kean

In Memory of Timothy Piazza: Bateman/Kean Measure to Combat Hazing Signed into Law

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Senator Kip Bateman and Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean’s legislation to increase penalties for hazing has been signed into law by Governor Murphy.

Senator Kip Bateman and Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean’s legislation to increase penalties for hazing has been signed into law. (The Timothy J. Piazza Memorial Foundation)

Timothy Piazza of Readington, a 19-year-old Penn State University student, died in February 2017 during a fraternity hazing ritual.

“Shortly after Timothy’s death, I received a letter from Matthew Prager, a 12-year-old student who was Timothy’s friend and neighbor, asking that I introduce anti-hazing legislation in Timothy’s name,” said Bateman. “To this day, I am grateful to Matthew for sending me that letter. No student deserves to go through the ritual humiliation that 19-year-old Timothy Piazza experienced. With the signing of this bill, hazing will no longer be tolerated in New Jersey.”

The legislation, S-84, would upgrade the crime of hazing from a disorderly persons offense to a fourth-degree crime if it causes bodily injury, and to a third-degree crime if it causes serious bodily injury. The bill would also require high schools, universities, and student organizations, including fraternities, to take a more active role in preventing and punishing hazing activities.

“Individuals who engage in hazing foster a culture of humiliation and violence. And yet, more than half of all students are hazed at some point during their college career,” added Kean. “This legislation sends a clear message: if you engage in deplorable acts like hazing, you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

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