Federal Anti-hazing Legislation: The REACH Act
While laws are not the panacea for interpersonal violence, they are a key component of primary prevention and integral to a comprehensive approach to prevention.
Why is federal level legislation necessary?
- State laws are uneven or absent
- Standardization at Federal Level
- Support for prevention
Anti-hazing legislation will help to:
- Shift societal norms and structures that contribute to campus environments where hazing is more likely to occur.
- Provide the public with more reliable information about hazing incidents and trends at an institution and nationwide.
- Support colleges and universities in taking an evidence-based approach to campus hazing prevention.
- Keep students safe.
The REACH Act
The purpose of the Report and Educate About Campus Hazing Act (REACH) is to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to require institutions of higher education to disclose hazing incidents. [S. 744, H.R. 2525]
What does REACH do?
- Defines “hazing” – including the three key components of the definition
- Calls for the inclusion of hazing incidents as crime statistics in Annual Security Reports (ASRs) under the Clery Act
- Mandates educational and comprehensive research-based programming on hazing
Why is REACH a strong bill?
The language of the REACH Act is simple and straightforward. It calls for the three clear items outlined above and does not require institutions to reinvent the wheel or call for substantial funding. Institutions already have the infrastructure in place for the ASRs and will simply add hazing incidents to it. The simple inclusion of hazing incidents as a Clery Act crime will be a giant leap forward in providing more accountability and transparency both at individual institutions, and nationally.
REACH includes a comprehensive hazing prevention programming component because while policy is important, it is not sufficient. Effective prevention of harmful behavior also includes education and skill-building strategies to help keep students safe. Educating students and institution stakeholders about harmful behaviors, warning signs, and how to intervene as a bystander, have proven effective in other arenas such as the prevention of sexual violence and alcohol and other drug misuse.
REACH is a clear, concise, and evidence-informed bipartisan bill. This federal policy is important for creating a shared and universal definition for hazing, providing transparency to consumers, helping educators track and intervene in harmful patterns, and educating students and campus stakeholders to be informed about hazing, know how to report it, and possess skills to help prevent it. REACH will help strengthen campus safety and promote educational environments where students can participate in clubs, organizations, and teams without the mental, emotional, and physical abuse of hazing. The more time passes before legislation is enacted, the more likely it is that students will be emotionally and physically harmed and even killed by these senseless acts.
Learn more about the REACH Act:
Read the bills:
Federal Anti-Hazing Legislation and the REACH Act: A Concept Paper
Federal Anti-Hazing Legislation and the REACH Act: Infographic
Contact your Senators and Representatives today and urge them to support REACH and help keep students safe!
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StopHazing. (2021). Federal Anti-hazing Legislation: The REACH Act, StopHazing Consulting. https://stophazing.org/policy/reach