LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA (November 13, 2022) – Two UCLA students are suing the University of California Board of Regents for the sexual assault and hazing they experienced as Bruin Woods camp counselors.
The two students were hired to work at the UCLA-run summer alumni getaway in Lake Arrowhead. Both left early in June due to claims of physical, sexual and verbal abuse by returning student counselors.
The lawsuit against the University of California Board of Regents and other camp counselors makes allegations of assault, battery, civil rights violations, hazing and negligence. Part of the hazing experience included forced nudity and drinking games.
UCLA has since released a statement saying that it has zero tolerance for harassment, hazing or sexual violence. Both students have reported negative affects on their mental health since they have left the camp.
Liability For Sexual Abuse And Hazing At California Universities
Sexual assault and hazing are much more common in Universities than many people may realize. According to the University of Central Florida, “55% of college students involved in clubs, teams and organizations experience hazing. Alcohol consumption, humiliation, isolation, sleep-deprivation, and sexual acts are hazing practices common across all types of student groups.” The vast majority of hazing incidents (95%) are never reported. There are a number of steps that universities can take in order to prevent or reduce sexual abuse and hazing.
- Student organizations should develop and enforce anti-hazing policies.
- Universities should develop and enforce anti-hazing policies.
- Sororities and fraternities should be willing to amend traditions.
- Instances of sexual abuse and hazing should be reported.
It is illegal for students or student organizations to engage in hazing, according to California Penal Code § 245.6. Hazing refers to any method of initiation which is likely to cause serious bodily injury. Punishments for hazing that does not result in serious bodily injury may include a fine between $100 – $5,000 or up to 1 year in county jail or misdemeanor probation. Those that engage in hazing may be charged with a number of other offenses including:
- Assault: California Penal Code §241 PC
- Battery: California Penal Code §243 PC
- Sexual Battery (Civil): California Civil Code §1708.5 CC
- Sexual Battery (Criminal): California Penal Code Section 243.4(e)(1)
- Manslaughter: California Penal Code §192 PC
Universities and high schools across California have a legal duty to protect students from reasonably foreseeable sources of harm. That includes hazing. When a university or high school fails to take reasonable actions to protect students from sexual abuse or hazing, this could form the basis of a negligence claim. Any person that is harmed after experiencing sexual abuse or hazing while participating in school activities may be able to seek some measure of justice through a civil claim. A Los Angeles sexual abuse attorney can examine all of the unique facts of your case and let you know what your legal options are.
Investigating Sexual Abuse And Hazing At California Universities
We at the Carrillo Law Firm, LLP extend our best wishes to the two students who have bravely come forward and filed this lawsuit. It is our sincere hope that this lawsuit will prompt the University of California Board of Regents to take additional measures to protect students from hazing. No person looking to better their life through education should have to go through something as degrading and humiliating as sexual abuse or hazing.
Have you or someone that you care about been the victims of hazing or sexual abuse at a high school or university in California? There are a number of laws designed to protect your rights. Our team of victims rights advocates are here to answer any questions that you may have. We care deeply that abuse victims are aware of their rights and that those rights are being protected. Whether you just have legal questions or need a free, independent investigation into any incident, we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at 626-799-9375. Se habla español.