If a student gets busted for hazing in Maryland, the most they would be fined is $500. One lawmaker wants to change that.
Maryland state Sen. Jamie Raskin (D-Montgomery County) will soon unveil legislation to increase the fine to $5,000, Bloomberg News reports.
"Nobody is being deterred in any way," Raskin told Bloomberg. "It is not acceptable, and we should not wait around for someone to die of exposure or alcohol abuse before we crack down."
Under current Maryland law, people found guilty of hazing can also face up to six months in prison. That would remain unchanged in Raskin's bill, but the increased financial penalty would put Maryland on par with states like Vermont, Georgia and Illinois.
The push for tougher anti-hazing measures in Maryland follows news reports about what a former pledge to Sigma Alpha Epsilon at Salisbury University said he went through to join a fraternity.
Maryland isn't totally out of the norm when it comes to anti-hazing statutes, though state laws vary.
The misdemeanor level penalty for hazing in California brings up to a year imprisonment and a fine between $100 and $5,000. Connecticut law provides for a $1,500 penalty to an organization and $1,000 for an individual. Florida will hit those who haze with multiple years in prison and up to a $5,000 fine if the individual is found guilty of felony level hazing.
Many of the laws also allow for a limited amount of imprisonment and forfeiture of scholarships or state funding to the student or organization. Arizona leaves the penalty up to the educational institution, and six other states have no anti-hazing statute, according to StopHazing.org.
One Congresswoman planned to unveil a federal anti-hazing law, but held off following lobbying from FratPAC, according to Bloomberg. FratPAC, properly known as the Fraternity and Sorority Political Action Committee, represents the interests of Greek organizations.
Research from the University of Maine in 2012 found 73 percent of social fraternities and sororities members experience hazing. Overall, 55 percent of college students involved in clubs, teams and other organizations are hazed.
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