September 06, 2022
Washington D.C.—As college students across the country return to campus for the new academic year, U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King are co-sponsoring legislation to prevent and respond to hazing. The Report and Educate About Campus Hazing (REACH) Act would require these incidents to be reported as part of a college’s annual crime report and establish a definition of hazing to clarify what constitutes a reportable offense. The legislation would also require institutions to establish a campus-wide, research-based program to educate students about the dangers of hazing.
“Hazing is a harmful, far too common practice that damages students’ mental health and wellbeing, and in some tragic cases it has even led to serious injuries or death,” said Senators Collins and King in a joint statement. “Students have a right to feel safe and accepted so that they can focus on their studies and fully participate in the college community. This bill would increase accountability and transparency as well as require colleges to take steps to help reduce these dangerous incidents.”
"With college students across the country experiencing mental health challenges at record rates, it has never been more important to promote the safety and well-being of our campus communities,” said University of Maine Vice President for Student Life and Inclusive Excellence and Dean of Students Robert Dana. “We applaud Senators Collins and King for their bipartisan support of the REACH Act. This legislation will leverage the nationally recognized, evidence-based hazing prevention education we offer at the University of Maine and our transparent reporting about any hazing incidents that unfortunately occur at postsecondary institutions.”
"Findings from our national studies about student hazing reveal an urgent need for more attention to hazing as a campus safety issue," said Dr. Elizabeth Allan, Professor of Higher Education at the University of Maine. "Although we know hazing is a campus-wide issue and impacts thousands of students involved in groups and teams each year, most are unaware of the warning signs and how to report hazing when it does occur. Policy initiatives are a vital part of a comprehensive approach to prevention and the REACH Act combines both evidence-informed education as well as a reporting mechanism for all institutions to standardize hazing incident tracking in a transparent way. Together, these policy components will support hazing prevention while bolstering campus safety, student belonging and well-being."
Since 2000, there have been more than 50 hazing-related deaths on America’s college campuses.