- Louisiana Legislature Amends Hazing Law to Impose stricter requirements.
- Jury convicts Matthew Naquin of negligent homicide in the death of Max Gruver
- LSU loses motion to dismiss the Gruver Estate’s Title IX Claims
Newsletter > July 2019 Special Edition > "Louisiana Legislature Amends Hazing Law to Impose stricter requirements."
Louisiana Legislature Amends Hazing Law to Impose stricter requirements.
Timothy M. Burke, Manley Burke, firstname.lastname@example.org
After the death of Max Gruver in 2017, the Louisiana legislature adopted one of the toughest hazing laws in the country. Now the legislature has imposed even greater requirements when it comes to reporting suspected incidents of hazing.1
Under the new law, which became effective on August 1, 2019, the failure of any representative of either a chapter or national organization to report suspected hazing “as soon as practicable under the circumstances” may subject the organization to (a) payment of a fine of up to $10,000, (b) forfeiture of any public funds received by the organization, and (c) “forfeiture of all rights and privileges of being an organization that is organized and operating at the educational institution for a specific period of time determined by the court. If the hazing results in serious bodily injury or death of the victim, or results in the victim having a blood alcohol concentration of at least 0.30 percent…, the period of time shall be for not less than four years.”
The earlier version of the law gave a national organization that received a report of hazing fourteen (14) days to complete an investigation to determine the veracity of the allegations prior to making a report to law enforcement. Now, organizational representatives who receive a report of hazing must report it to law enforcement virtually immediately, and the report must “include all details received by the organization relative to the alleged incident with no information being redacted, including the name of all individuals alleged to have committed the act or acts of hazing.” The assistance of nothing being redacted may well have resulted from a series of incidents in which some involved in hazing incidents attempted to destroy or hide evidence, as was most recently the case in the death of Max Gruver when Matthew Naquin tried to destroy evidence on his phone. (See the Naquin conviction article, which is a part of this issue.)
Educational institutions receiving a report that alleged that hazing has occurred have these same obligations imposed on them. Moreover, any educational institutional that fails to so report may be subject to a fine of up to $10,000.
The challenge for representatives of a national fraternal organization or a local chapter in Louisiana will be to determine what constitutes knowing that “one or more of the organization’s members were hazing another person.” Is hearsay speculation sufficient to trigger an obligation to report? Is an anonymous report on the fraternal law hotline passed onto an organization sufficient to obligate the organization to report? What constitutes “as soon as practicable”? May the organization involved consult with its attorney to determine whether or not the obligation exists, before reporting? Much of the obligation is not clear. What is clear, however, is how seriously the State of Louisiana is taking hazing.
Fraternal organizations and their members must also take hazing seriously, both in Louisiana and wherever their chapters may exist.
- 2019 La. Sess. Law Serv. Act 382 (H.B. 443) (West).