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Newsletter > September 2009 > "OREGON AMENDS HAZING STATUTE"
OREGON AMENDS HAZING STATUTE
Daniel McCarthy, Manley Burke
The Oregon legislature recently passed, and Governor Ted Kulongoski signed, Senate Bill 444, which amends Oregon’s hazing statute, found at O.R.S. 163.197. The statute changed the definition of “haze” by adding numerous specific activities that are legally considered hazing. For example, the new statute specifically identifies the following as hazing: “To subject an individual to whipping, beating, striking, branding or electronic shocking, to place a harmful substance on an individual’s body or to subject an individual to other similar forms of physical brutality.” This is only one of four subsections in the statute under the definition of hazing.
The new statute also follows the lead of most other states by making it clear that “Consent of the person who is hazed is not a defense in a prosecution under this section.”
The other significant change is that athletic teams are now specifically included as student organizations and are subject to the hazing statute. Under the previous statute, while fraternities and sororities were subject to the statute, the statute specifically did not apply to “curricular activities or to athletic teams of or within the college or university.” The Oregon legislature has apparently finally recognized that Greeks are not the only organizations that occasionally haze.