Texas criminal law prohibits hazing at private universities, including Rice, and the University's Code of Student Conduct also prohibits any hazing or hazing type activity.
Under state law, hazing can subject a person to criminal penalties. Texas law requires Rice to provide students with this notice. A person commits a criminal violation of hazing if he or she engages in intentional or reckless acts directed at a student that endangers the mental or physical health or safety of the student for purposes of initiation into, affiliation with, holding office or membership in, an organization. Hazing activity can include a wide variety of physical brutality, other physical activities that subject the student to risk of harm, consumption of food or alcohol that subjects the student to risk of harm, intimidation, threats, or requiring the student to violate criminal law.
A person also violates the law if the person engages in, solicits, encourages, directs, aids, or attempts to aid another in hazing activity; if the person recklessly permits hazing to occur; or the person has firsthand knowledge of the planning of hazing or the past occurrence of a hazing incident and fails to report that knowledge in writing to an appropriate university official. It is a Class B misdemeanor to (a) fail to make this report, or (b) to otherwise commit a hazing offense that causes minor bodily injury. The severity of a hazing offense that causes serious bodily injury is raised to a Class A misdemeanor. The seriousness of a hazing violation that causes the death of another is elevated to a state jail felony. Both organizations and individuals may be punished under the anti-hazing law. It is not a defense to criminal prosecution that the person against whom the hazing was directed consented or acquiesced in the activity.