As students return to college, Governor signs anti-hazing legislation
Press Release, Gov. Andrew Cuomo
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed anti-hazing legislation to help keep students safe as they go back to school. The law (S.2755/A.5200) prohibits certain physical contact or requiring physical activity in any organization’s initiating ceremony to prevent the deaths or serious injuries of students during fraternity pledging ceremonies.
“These hazing rituals are dangerous and reckless with potentially fatal consequences, and I’m proud to sign this legislation to protect college students across this great state,” Governor Cuomo said. “As we prepare for the beginning of another school year, parents and students alike deserve to have peace of mind that we take hazing seriously and will have zero tolerance for these abuses in New York.”
The legislation was prompted by the death of Michael Deng, a 19-year-old Baruch College student and Flushing resident who died after suffering a massive head injury as a result of a hazing ritual in 2013.
Under the law, those who engage in physical contact or require physical activity that creates a substantial risk of physical injury and causes that injury as part of an initiation ritual will be guilty of hazing in the first degree, punishable by up to a year in jail.
“The safety of our students is a top priority and these hazing rituals put them at risk of physical and emotional harm,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “This legislation will help to combat these dangerous rituals and prevent injury and potential fatality of our students. We will not tolerate these actions that threaten the lives of students in New York State.”