College officials and board members of sororities and fraternities have tried to stop hazing on college campuses, but nothing seems to work. Tennessee Representative John DeBerry Jr. introduced new legislation that would ban all college sororities and fraternities within the state.
The Memphis Rep knows that his bill will be controversial. “I’ve thought about it for quite some time. You realize that some legislation is volatile. You realize that it’s not going to be popular, and you may hold off,” DeBerry told TIME. “But the continuation of assaults and hazing incidents and just bad behavior — not just in Tennessee, but all over the country — at some point in time, you have to force the argument and force the discussion.”
In 2017 four people died from hazing. Fraternity pledge Tim Piazza died of hazing at Penn State University. Piazza died from traumatic injuries after falling down the stairs at the Beta Theta Pi house due to how inebriated he was.
Maxwell Gruver, another pledge at Louisiana State University died in fall 2017 from hazing. A month after his death, fraternity members Andrew Coffey died off campus from hazing at Florida State University and Matthew Ellis died of hazing at Texas State University.
DeBerry filed the bill nearly a year after Piazza died. The bill would ban all frats and sororities from operating on campus and at any institution of higher educations. The ban doesn’t apply to professional frats and honor societies.
Typically not enough is done when hazing gets out of control or even results in a death. NBC reported that typically colleges will suspend the fraternities or temporarily ban them. But after a few years, those frats will back and be running again almost like nothing happened.
The Atlantic‘s feature on Piazza’s death, that is nominated for an American Society of Magazine Editors award, talked about and how ineffective the protocols frats and universities have to prevent hazing and the futile way these institutions punish hazers.
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“We ought to be able to send our young people to school, they ought to be able to be in a safe environment,” DeBerry told TIME. “This is something that we’ve got to get right all over the country.”