After death, New York bill would ban physical contact at fraternity initiation
A little over two months after a freshman at Baruch College died during a hazing incident, new legislation seeks to prohibit all physical contact during fraternity initiation ceremonies.
Assemblyman David Weprin began working on ”Michael’s Law” within weeks of the fatal incident and introduced the bill along with state Senator Sen. Kenneth LaValle. It is named after 19-year-old Chun Michael Deng, a student from Queens who was killed during a December trip he took to the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania with his new Pi Delta Psi brothers.
The bill would expand the definition of hazing to include “all physical conduct and physical activities required from fraternities during the pledging ceremonies,” according to a press release from Weprin’s office. The current law defines hazing as any activity that creates ”a substantial risk of physical injury.”
“It basically outlaws any physical contact” during frat ceremonies, Weprin told The Huffington Post, noting that New York’s current anti-hazing law only prohibits conduct that either recklessly or intentionally creates “substantial risk” of injury, or causes injury.
Deng’s death was ruled a homicide by the Monroe County, Penn. coroner’s office after other members of the fraternity allegedly tackled the young man while he was blindfolded, causing a traumatic brain injury.
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