Can I Bring a Civil Action Against the Fraternity or Sorority for Hazing?


Can I civil action brought against the fraternity or sorority for hazing? In Florida and other States, hazing is an unfortunate fixture at many colleges. Having attended University of Florida in the 1980s I was well aware of stories and incidents of hazing at fraternities and sororities on and off campus. Being in a fraternity in the 1980s and to the present day is often seen as a badge of honor for many. Because of this so called badge of honor or privilege of membership, many pledges or prospective members would do and undergo many humiliating acts in order to become a member of the fraternity or sorority. My fraternity Lambda Chi Alpha was well ahead of its time when I attended college because instead of having pledges – we had Associate Members. Lambda Chi Alpha had and still has a very strong national policy against hazing.

When a student is hazed by a fraternity, sorority or other institution at a college or university, a civil suit may be brought against the organization and / or school to the extent that members and / or officials were negligent in performing their duties. If actions could have been taken to prevent or at least reduce the incidents and severity of the hazing acts, a civil action may be appropriate to seek damages for pain, suffering, and other losses. Cases involving hazing related injuries can be quite complex. The law supporting these kind of cases can also be confusing. Because of this, it is important for a student or the family of a student who was the victim of hazing acts to contact a Florida Personal Injury Attorney or a Florida Child Injury Attorney to discuss the legal and practical issues and challenges to such a legal case.

Recently, Florida colleges have received some unwanted publicity due to hazing incidents being reported to police and university officials. The Florida A&M band program has been reported as having a program rife with hazing incidents for many years. Florida A&M received national attention when one band member died as a result of some reported hazing incident. At the University of Florida, the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity is receiving some unwanted publicity for alleged hazing incidents that took place in Gainesville, Florida.

Florida colleges and universities should get publicity for their academic and sports programs not for acts of hazing. While it is important to inform the public, parents, and other students about the problems and dangers of hazing, it is a shame that our great State and its institutions are getting notoriety for hazing rather than academics and sports.

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