A bill that would require S.C. public colleges to post online misconduct violations by fraternities and sororities could be headed to a vote on the Senate floor.
The bill, named the “Tucker Hipps Transparency Act,” passed the Senate Education Committee Wednesday. The bill is named after a Clemson University fraternity pledge whose body was found in Lake Hartwell after a predawn 2014 run with other fraternity members.
The bill passed the House 84-0 on March 16 but stalled in the Senate’s Education Committee. Some senators complain the bill singles out Greek organizations while leaving exempt other groups, including athletics teams or bands.
With only four days left in the legislative session, state Rep. Joshua Putnam, the Anderson Republican who sponsored the bill, said he was happy to see the proposal “finally” advance.
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“There’s really not a reason why the Senate can’t have a final vote on the bill,” Putnam said, adding the state’s public colleges support the proposal.
However, state Sen. Vincent Sheheen, a Kershaw Democrat and Clemson alumni, said he plans to introduce an amendment on the Senate floor that would broaden the bill to include intercollegiate athletics and require schools to report only proven violations, not accusations.
Sheheen said his amendment would lessen opposition to the bill, adding some senators think it unfairly targets Greek organizations.
“I’m trying to broaden it while at the same time still having that general information available to the public,” Sheheen said.
The bill would require public colleges to report violations related to drugs, alcohol, sexual assault, threats and hazing by Greek organizations. Schools also would be required to post violations dating back to January 2011.
Putnam said the bill doesn’t unfairly target anyone, saying it “goes after” organizations that commit offenses. “We’re having students in public universities that die on campus or off campus that are associated with these groups.”
A Clemson spokeswoman said the university agrees with the bill’s intent — ensuring the public has information about organizations that students might wish to join. USC has said it is “generally supportive” of the bill.
Both schools already list sanctions online against Greek organizations.