Students, police in favor of anti-hazing bill currently in Senate

House Bill 1758 would include trainings for all students similar to Booze, Sex, Reality Checks

Sam+Martinez+died+Nov.+12%2C+2019%2C+after+participating+in+a+Big-Little+reveal+night+with+members+of+the+Alpha+Tau+Omega+fraternity.

COURTESY OF JOLAYNE HOUTZ AND HECTOR MARTINEZ

Sam Martinez died Nov. 12, 2019, after participating in a “Big-Little reveal night” with members of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity.

ALEXANDRIA OSBORNE, Evergreen reporter, columnist, copy editor

House Bill 1758, which would increase the penalties for hazing on college campuses, passed the Washington State Senate Ways and Means Committee with amendments Monday. This means the bill is on its way to the Senate floor and becoming law. 

The bill, along with House Bill 1751, was written in response to the death of WSU freshman Sam Martinez in 2019. Parents Jolayne Houtz and Hector Martinez are pushing for increased awareness about hazing events like the one that took their son’s life, according to a Daily Evergreen article.

If passed, the bill would implement anti-hazing training within schools throughout the state, said Estela Navarro, ASWSU Legislative Affairs deputy director.

This training would be added on to what students already have to complete for orientation, such as “Booze, Sex and Reality Checks,” Navarro said. The training would not be specific to the Greek community; rather, it will be available to all students. 

“It would be a really great bill to be passed … I think an additional training would be very useful,” she said. “I think it’s best that it’s going to be across all of the student population.”

Senior biology major Dylan Seaman said he is involved in Greek life, and Sam Martinez’s death affected everyone. 

The new bill would be beneficial if passed because it would be the first step to decreasing hazing problems in Greek life, Seaman said.

“I think it’s going to help make these new members and make people going through rush more educated on the subject and more likely to speak out about it,” he said. “I think the first step is educating everyone going through rush so they’re aware of what could happen.”

Steve Hansen, WSU Police Department assistant chief, said he thinks the bill should be passed because it is something that could help prevent hazing. If the bill gets passed, people involved with Greek life will have to start policing themselves. 

“It will definitely be beneficial to those young people that are trying to get into or live in that Greek life system,” WSU PD Capt. Mike Larsen said.