West Virginia Anti-Hazing Law

§18-16-2. Definitions. 

(a) “Hazing” means to cause any action or situation which recklessly or intentionally endangers the mental or physical health or safety of another person or persons or causes another person or persons to destroy or remove public or private property for the purpose of initiation or admission into or affiliation with, or as a condition for continued membership in, any organization operating under the sanction of or recognized as an organization by an institution of higher education. The term includes, but is not limited to, any brutality of a physical nature, such as whipping, beating, branding, forced consumption of any food, liquor, drug or other substance, or any other forced physical activity which could adversely affect the physical health and safety of the individual or individuals, and includes any activity which would subject the individual or individuals to extreme mental stress, such as sleep deprivation, forced exclusion from social contact, forced conduct which could result in extreme embarrassment, or any other forced activity which could adversely affect the mental health or dignity of the individual or individuals, or any willful destruction or removal of public or private property: Provided,That the implied or expressed consent or willingness of a person or persons to hazing shall not be a defense under this section.

(b) “Institution of higher education” or “institution” means any public or private institution as defined in section two, article one, chapter eighteen-b of this code.

§18-16-3. Hazing prohibited. 

Any person or persons who causes hazing is guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than one hundred dollars nor more than one thousand dollars, or confined in a county or regional jail, not more than nine months, or both fined and imprisoned: Provided, That if the act would otherwise be deemed a felony as defined in this code, the person committing such act may be found guilty of such felony and be subject to penalties provided for such felony.

§18-16-4. Enforcement by institution. 

(a) Antihazing policy. –The university of West Virginia board of trustees created pursuant to article two, chapter eighteen-b of this code and the board of directors of the state college system created pursuant to article three of said chapter shall by the first day of August, one thousand nine hundred ninety-five, promulgate guidelines for antihazing policies.

(b) Enforcement and penalties.–

(1) Each institution shall provide a program for the enforcement of such rules and shall adopt appropriate penalties for violations of such rules to be administered by the person or agency at the institution responsible for the sanctioning or recognition of such organizations.

(2) In the case of an organization which authorizes hazing in blatant disregard of such rules, penalties may also include recision of permission for that organization to operate on campus property or to otherwise operate under the sanction or recognition of the institution.

(3) All penalties imposed under the authority of this section shall be in addition to any penalty imposed for violation of section three of this article or of any of the criminal laws of this state or for violation of any other institutional rule to which the violator may be subject.

(4) Rules adopted pursuant hereto apply to acts conducted on or off campus whenever such acts are deemed to constitute hazing.

§18-2-33. Rules for antihazing.

(a) The Legislature hereby finds that hazing has become a problem in a limited number of public school-sponsored student organizations and that legal liability has already resulted from some of those activities. It is the intent of this section that problems with hazing in public school-sponsored student organizations be addressed.

(b) The state board shall promulgate legislative rules in accordance with article three-b, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code that addresses hazing in the public school system. The rules shall include at least the following:

(1) A definition of hazing;

(2) A definition of a public school-sponsored student organization that includes both cocurricular and extracurricular activities;

(3) A method to advise students and employees of the problems associated with hazing;

(4) Appropriate penalties or procedures for establishing penalties for students who haze while engaged in the activities of a public school-sponsored student organization; and

(5) Methods to prevent hazing in public school-sponsored organizations.

(c) The state board shall consider the antihazing law set forth in article sixteen, chapter eighteen in drafting the rules required by this section.

(d) Nothing in this section or in the policy promulgated in accordance with this section may be construed to prevent a suspension or expulsion executed in accordance with section one-a, article five, chapter eighteen-a of this code.


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