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