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Family of ASU freshman killed in hazing ritual says lives will be saved under new bill

The bill titled “Jack’s Law’ is named in honor of former Arizona State University freshman Jack Culolias.

PHOENIX — A new law in Arizona is targeting the dangers of hazing rituals.

Thursday, Governor Doug Ducey signed HB 2322 into law. The bill titled “Jack’s Law" is named in honor of former Arizona State University freshman Jack Culolias.

Culolias died in November 2012 from alcohol poisoning after a night of drinking as part of a hazing ritual to join the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.

Investigators say Culolias drowned at Tempe Town Lake after falling into the water. His body was recovered 16 days later.

“He was the life of the party. He always had a smile on his face. He was super social and had a ton of friends,” said Jack’s identical twin brother Alex Culolias.

The bill protects college and high students against mental and physical abuse and sexual humiliation, and other degrading acts that are typically behind hazing rituals.

Under the law, individuals can also face charges for their role in the acts.

Punishments can range from misdemeanors to felonies if a death is involved.

Colleges will also be required to disclose the law, and students will be required to sign acknowledgment in handbooks.

“It’s amazing that there hasn’t been a bill or a law because this has to stop,” said Jack’s mom Grace Culolias.

For nearly a decade, Grace Culolias has been on a mission to prevent another family from experiencing loss because of college hazing. Thursday, her hard work paid off with the signing of the bill.

She says it will save lives.  

State Representative John Kavanaugh authored the bill and says it received support from fraternities and sororities.

“The mere fact that it is now illegal to plan, let alone engage in it. I think it is a wake-up call that I think they will adhere to.”

Arizona was previously among six states in the United States that did not have a law enforcing punishments for hazing.

Previously, laws required public universities and colleges to establish rules and programs.

The bill will go into effect on September 24, 2022.  

   

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