New Jersey's Anti-Hazing Law Is Just Not For College Students

Posted by: Wiley Lavender on Sunday, January 19, 2020

New Jersey's Anti-Hazing Law and you. Fraternities and sororities are often an integral part of university and college social life.  As such, they have to adapt their pledging rites and rituals so that they do not violate the law.  These laws have been created in response to multiple incidents of harm and injury arising from the pledging process. 

In New Jersey, persons pledging a fraternity or sorority must be provided a copy of the “Pledge’s Bill of Rights.” As such, New Jersey state law requires that, “Every public and independent institution of higher education within the State shall ensure that any student who participates in pledging activities at that institution receives a copy of the "Pledge's Bill of Rights." 

Hazing is a Criminal Act

But the Pledge’s Bill of Rights does not change the fact that New Jersey’s Anti-Hazing law applies to more that colleges and universities.  Consequently, the New Jersey Anti-Hazing law provides that “ A person is guilty of hazing, a disorderly persons offense, if, in connection with initiation of applicants to or members of a student or fraternal organization, he knowingly or recklessly organizes, promotes, facilitates or engages in any conduct, other than competitive athletic events, which places or may place another person in danger of bodily injury.”

The statute also covers “student” organizations.  A high school student organization is subject to the provisions of the law. For example, a high school football team that engages in conduct contrary to the law could in fact face charges of hazing.

New Jersey’s Anti-Hazing law eliminates consent as a defense to committing acts of hazing. Specifically, the law states that notwithstanding any other provision of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes to the contrary, consent shall not be available as a defense to a prosecution under the Anti-Hazing statute.

Furthermore, committing an act of hazing that results bodily injury is a serious criminal violation.  As a result, a person is guilty of aggravated hazing.  This is a crime of the fourth degree.

The Anti-Hazing laws of New Jersey covers a broad scope of activities. Therefore, consulting an attorney regarding your rights can make a difference in how a person avoids committing acts of hazing. Or, in the alternative, your rights as a victim of hazing.  The attorneys at Wiley Lavender can provide the advice a person needs when dealing with the issue of hazing.