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Newsletter > June 2022 > "Hazing Legislation and Case Updates "
Hazing Legislation and Case Updates
Timothy M. Burke, Fraternal Law Partners, email@example.com
Unfortunately, there continues to be a need for additional hazing legislation and lawmakers are listening.
On March 30, 2022, Washington State Governor, Jay Inslee signed into law the “Sam’s Law.” It is named in memory of Sam Martinez, who was a freshman at Washington State University when he died of alcohol poisoning in 2019 following a fraternity hazing incident.
Sam’s Law broadens the definition of hazing. It requires each public and private University to “provide students with an educational program on hazing and the dangers of and prohibition on hazing.” Each public institution of higher education must establish a hazing prevention committee, of which 50-percent of the members must be students.
Beginning with the 2022-23 academic year, each public and private institution must maintain and publicly report actual findings of violations by any student organization, athletic team or living group, of the institution’s code of conduct, anti-hazing policies, or state or federal laws relating to hazing or offenses related to alcohol, drugs, sexual assault, or physical assault. Such reports must be posted on the institution’s website for specific periods of time, and further maintained for five years.
Of critical importance is that the law requires that both employees and volunteers of institutions of higher education that have “reasonable cause to believe that hazing has occurred,” report the incident (or cause a report to be made) to a designated authority at the school. The employee or volunteer must make the report at the first opportunity to do so.
The law goes on to provide that a social fraternity or sorority must notify the school before it opens or reopens a local chapter, as well as when it “instigates an investigation of a local chapter for hazing or other activity that includes an element of hazing such as furnishing alcohol to minors.” Any local social fraternity or sorority chapter must, at the risk of losing university recognition, show on “the landing pages of all websites owned or maintained by the local chapter . . . a full list for the previous five years of all findings of violation of anti-hazing policies, state or federal laws related to hazing, alcohol, drugs, sexual assault or physical assaults or the institution’s code of conduct against the local chapter.”
In signing the law, Governor Inslee stated, “this bill is a solemn reminder that we can, and will do more, to educate students on the dangers of hazing.”
Meanwhile, in Virginia, Governor Glenn Youngkin, as expected, signed into law, “Adams Law,” which was more fully described in the March 2022 issue of Fraternal Law.
Convictions of those involved in hazing deaths go on, as well. The Presidents of chapters where two recent hazing deaths happened both recently plead guilty.
In Virginia, Jason Mulgrew, who had been the chapter president of the Fraternity chapter at Virginia Commonwealth University that Adam Oakes sought to join, became the third person to pled to crimes related Oakes’ death. Mulgrew received a sentence of twelve (12) months of jail time suspended, will have to serve a period of supervised probation, and will complete “restorative justice conferencing with the Oakes family, one year of good behavior, 150 hours of community service, and hazing presentations with the Love Like Adam Foundation.”
While in Ohio, Daylen Dunson, who was the chapter president of the Fraternity at Bowling Green and had attended the event that led to the death of Stone Foltz, pled to multiple charges including reckless homicide and tampering with evidence. He pled shortly before his trial was scheduled and after guilty pleas by five (5) other members of the chapter.
On May 27th, the last two defendants charged in the death of Stone Foltz, following a 2-week jury trial, were found not guilty of the most serious charges, but guilty of multiple lesser charges. Jacob Krinn, who was Stone Foltz’s Big Brother, was convicted of hazing, violating underage alcohol laws, and obstructing official business. All of those were misdemeanors. He was found not guilty of the felony charges of involuntary manslaughter, reckless homicide, and assault. Troy Hendricksen, who was the fraternity chapter’s Pledge Educator, was convicted of misdemeanor offenses of obstructing justice, eight counts of hazing, and seven counts of violating underage alcohol laws. He too was found not guilty of the felony charges of including involuntary manslaughter and reckless homicide.
While convicted only of the lesser offenses, the combined convictions still carry the potential of significant jail time. Each hazing count could result in as much as thirty (30) days in jail and a fine of $250, each obstruction charge a maximum of ninety (90) days in jail and a $750 fine, and each alcohol violation up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
The sentencing of all eight will take place later this summer.
Hazing continues to be the single biggest threat to the future of the Greek system. The overwhelming majority of members of fraternity and sorority chapters do great things for their members, colleges, and communities. But those misguided members who ignore organizational and campus rules and the criminal law, and whose hazing leads to the death or serious injury of a would-be member, can destroy all of that in an instant.
Those who care about the health of their fraternities and sororities need to continue to speak out and act against hazing and support those lawmakers who propose needed legislation to discourage it, including laws establishing appropriately-serious penalties for those whose criminal conduct deserves them.
 H.B. 1751 (Wa. 2022).
 While the law defines “employee,” it does not define “volunteer.” It leaves unclear if a volunteer is limited to those who volunteer for the educational institution or if it also includes those who volunteer exclusively for a sorority or fraternity.
 Associated Press, Inslee Signs Law Intended to Reduce Hazing Incidents. U.S. News (Mar. 31, 2022, 11:40am), https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/washington/articles/2022-03-31/inslee-signs-law-intended-to-reduce-hazing-incidents.
 Timothy M. Burke, Virginia Poised to Adopt New Anti-Hazing Law, the Adam Oakes Law, 174 Fraternal L. 5 (Mar. 2022).
  NBC12 Newsroom, Fraternity Chapter President Pleads No Contest in VCU Hazing Death, Avoids Jail Time. WHSV3 (May 5, 2022; 10:53AM), https://www.whsv.com/2022/05/05/fraternity-chapter-president-pleads-no-contest-vcu-hazing-death-avoids-jail-time/.
Hazing isn’t just an issue for fraternities and sororities, and not just for men. Six members of the Norwich University women’s rugby team have been suspended from the team and face charges—ranging from civil citations for hazing, to crimes of simple assault and reckless endangerment—for the branding and waterboarding of some other team members.