Missouri Hazing Law

COMPILED BY CAMILLE TODD

Missouri State legislation prohibits hazing in the Missouri Revised Statutes, Chapter 578, Section 578.365 and is as follows:

  1. A person commits the crime of hazing if he knowingly participates in or causes hazing, as it is defined in section 578.360.
  2. Hazing is a class A misdemeanor, unless the act creates a substantial risk to the life of the student or prospective member, in which case it is a class C felony.
  3. Nothing in sections 578.360 to 578.365 shall be interpreted as creating a new private cause of action against any educational institution.
  4. Consent is not a defense to hazing. Section 565.080 does not apply to hazing cases or to homicide cases arising out of hazing activity.


The statutes referenced above involve specific definitions of hazing. Section 578.360 states, ““Hazing,” a willful act, occurring on or off the campus of an educational institution, directed against a student or a prospective member of an organization operating under the sanction of an educational institution, that recklessly endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student or prospective member for the purpose of initiation or admission into or continued membership in any such organization to the extent that such person is knowingly placed at probable risk of the loss of life or probable bodily or psychological harm. Acts of hazing shall include:

(a) Any activity which recklessly endangers the physical health or safety of the student or prospective member, including but not limited to physical brutality, whipping, beating, branding, exposure to the elements, forced consumption of any food, liquor, drug or other substance or forced smoking or chewing of tobacco products; or

(b) Any activity which recklessly endangers the mental health of the student or prospective member, including but not limited to sleep deprivation, physical confinement, or other extreme stress-inducing activity; or

(c) Any activity that requires the student or prospective member to perform a duty or task which involves a violation of the criminal laws of this state or any political subdivision in this state.

The state also demands all educational institutions (colleges and universities) to have written policy prohibiting hazing by any organization operating under the sanction of the institution.

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