Massachusetts Hazing Law
Harvard Law School complies with the Massachusetts statue that prohibits hazing in connection with initiation of new members into student organizations. This law applies to both officially recognized and unrecognized groups and to practices on and off campus. All members of the HLS community should be aware of these regulations, as excerpted below.
Any student or student group who uses any form of hazing as a means of initiation into a student organization, or any hazing activity in an HLS classroom, is subject to review by the Administrative Board. This review may result in the probation or expulsion of the student(s) involved and/or the banning of the student organization from the HLS campus. Any student who suspects hazing in connection with any student group should contact the Dean of Students Office – firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-495-1880.
269:17. Definition and Penalties
Section 17. Whoever is a principal organizer or participant in the crime of hazing, as defined herein, shall be punished by a fine of not more than three thousand dollars or by imprisonment in a house of correction for not more than one year, or both such fine and imprisonment.
The term “hazing” as used in this section and in sections eighteen and nineteen, shall mean any conduct or method of initiation into any student organization, whether on public or private property, which willfully or recklessly endangers the physical or mental health of any student or other person. Such conduct shall include whipping, beating, branding, forced calisthenics, exposure to the weather, forced consumption of any food, liquor, beverage, drug, or other substance, or any other brutal treatment or forced physical activity which is likely to adversely affect the physical health or safety of any such student or other person, or which subjects such student or other person to extreme mental stress, including extended deprivation of sleep or rest or extended isolations.
Notwithstanding any other provisions of this section to the contrary, consent shall not be available as a defense to any prosecution under this action.
269:18. Failure to Report Hazing
Section 18. Whoever knows that another person is the victim of hazing as defined in section seventeen and is at the scene of such crime shall, to the extent that such person can do so without danger or peril to himself or others, report such crime to an appropriate law enforcement official as soon as reasonably practicable. Whoever fails to report such crime shall be punished by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars.
269:19 Issuance to students and student groups, teams and organizations; report
Section 19. Each such group, team, or organization shall distribute a copy of this section and sections seventeen and eighteen to each of its members, plebes, pledges, or applicants for membership. It shall be the duty of each such group, team, or organization, acting through its designated officer, to deliver annually, to the institution an attested acknowledgement stating that such group, team, or organization has received a copy of this section and said sections seventeen and eighteen, that each of its members, plebes, pledges, or applicants has received a copy of sections seventeen and eighteen, and that such group, team or organization understands and agrees to comply with the provisions of this section and sections seventeen and eighteen.