Governor Cuomo Signs Weprin Anti-Hazing Bill

Prompted by death of Baruch College student, legislation prohibits contact in initiation

QUEENS, NEW YORK – Assemblyman David I. Weprin (D – Fresh Meadows, Richmond Hill) announced the signing of legislation by Governor Andrew Cuomo, prohibiting physical contact or activity in any organization's initiating ceremony. Introduced in 2014, after the hazing death of Michael Deng at Baruch College, the new law aims to decrease the amount of dangerous hazing incidents that occur in New York each year.

Deng, who was pledging the Baruch College chapter of Pi Delta Psi when he died during a December 2013 fraternity retreat at a house in Pennsylvania, was subjected to a hazing ritual known as ‘glass ceiling', in which he suffered a massive head injury after he was blindfolded and forced to lug a knapsack loaded with 20 pounds of sand as fraternity members repeatedly took him down.

Passage of Weprin’s bill follows a November 2017 Pennsylvania court ruling finding Pi Delta Psi Inc. guilty of involuntary manslaughter, hazing, and aggravated assault, as well as the January 2018 sentencing of 4 of 37 individuals charged with aggravated assault, hazing and murder in Pennsylvania after Deng's death.

“The best way for us to prevent hazing is to ensure that no student is ever put in a situation where their safety is in jeopardy,” said Assemblyman David I. Weprin. “Hazing is reckless and dangerous behavior, and we must do everything in our power to protect students from danger. Michael Deng’s death was a horrific and preventable tragedy, and I was proud to sponsor this legislation to honor his memory and prevent future families’ heartbreak. I thank Governor Cuomo for signing this legislation to save lives and bring comfort to Michael’s family.”