Parents criticize UT’s response to hazing-related death

On Behalf of | Mar 31, 2020 | Firm News |

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, hazing is a process of initiation that involves harassment. There have been many incidents reported, especially over the past three years, of hazing incidents resulting in death. 

One of these involved a 20-year-old student at the University of Texas. He died in October 2018 after a car accident in which a fellow recruit of a prestigious student organization crashed when driving home from an annual retreat. His parents maintain that UT has not done enough to punish the organization and the students involved. 

The incident 

The organization’s annual retreat took place in September 2018. It lasted well into the night and allegedly involved hazing activities such as plying recruits with alcohol and physically paddling them. Following the retreat, members of the group reportedly allowed sleep-deprived and otherwise impaired recruits to drive home. 

The student who died was a passenger in a car driven by a fellow recruit. The passenger was not wearing a seatbelt and reportedly sustained serious injuries when the driver fell asleep behind the wheel. He remained in a coma for a month before he ultimately passed away. 

The aftermath 

Two months after the accident, the university investigated the incident. During that time, it prohibited the group from recruiting new members. 

Upon the completion of the investigation and the release of the report in March 2019, the university president announced that he would suspend the group’s activities until 2025. After a series of appeals, the group accepted the decision, and the university said that it would consider early reinstatement in January 2022. 

The student’s parents remain unsatisfied with the university’s handling of the incident. They claim that the university’s response was too slow, and they object to the plan to consider early reinstatement. They also protest the fact that there have been no expulsions or arrests of students involved in the incident. 

Though the university has sanctioned 14 students for hazing over the past five years, it confirms that none of the sanctions involved expulsion.