New Hazing Law

Please be aware that the California Legislature recently enacted a new law that makes hazing a potential felony, punishable with up to one year in prison, $5,000 in fines, and liability for injury to any persons harmed. This new liability for hazing also applies to student organizations, and not just to those who directly participated in the hazing acts. The new law defines hazing as:

[A]ny method of initiation or pre-initiation into a student organization or student body, whether or not the organization or body is officially recognized by an educational institution, which is likely to cause serious bodily injury to any former, current, or prospective student of any school, community college, college, university, or other educational institution in this state. Penal Code section 245.6(b)

In addition to the new law, students at a California State University campus who participate in acts of hazing as described in Title 5, section 41301 of the California Code will be subject to disciplinary action. Hazing is more broadly defined under this code.

"Hazing" includes any method of initiation or pre-initiation into a student organization, or any pastime of amusement engaged in with respect to such an organization which causes, or is likely to cause, bodily danger, physical harm, or personal degradation or disgrace resulting in physical or mental harm, to any student or other person attending any school, community college, college, university or other educational institution in this state;

Disciplinary action at the campus level is considered independent from other court proceedings and may be instituted against a student also charged in civil or criminal courts based on the same facts that constitute the alleged violation of the Student Conduct Code. (CSU Executive Order No. 970)

For more information go to or contact, Matthew Lopez-Phillips, student conduct administrator for Sonoma State University.