REACH Act legislation would define hazing and require colleges to report incidents

policy legislation
Photo Credit: duncanandison

Fifty hazing-related deaths have taken the lives of American college students since 2000.

Adam Oakes was a student at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond when he died in a fraternity hazing incident on Feb. 27, 2021.

Virginia Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine cosponsored The Report and Educate About Campus Hazing (REACH) Act, which is led by Minnesota’s Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Louisiana’s Sen. Bill Cassidy and many other colleagues to address hazing on college campuses.

“Parents who send their kids off to college never imagine that their child may be injured, seriously impaired, or killed by the actions of their friends or peers,” the Senators said in a press release. “Unfortunately, this has been the reality for too many families, including the family of 19-year-old Adam Oakes, who died in a hazing incident at VCU last year. We owe it to parents and students to pass this legislation to provide transparency and accountability around these incidents, as well as education on the dangers and life-long consequences of hazing.”

The REACH Act, according to the press release, would require colleges report hazing incidents as part of annual crime reports. The legislation would also establish a definition of hazing to clarify what constitutes a reportable offense, and require colleges to establish campus-wide, research-based programs to educate students about the dangers of hazing.


Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.