Education

SC colleges won’t have to publish frat, sorority hazing charges if this law expires

McMaster proposes one-year freeze on SC college tuition and fees

What South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said about the cost of higher education during his annual State of the State address.
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What South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said about the cost of higher education during his annual State of the State address.

South Carolina lawmakers want the state’s colleges and universities to keep disclosing hazing, alcohol, sexual assault and other conduct violations at fraternities and sororities on campus.

The Tucker Hipps Transparency Act, named after a Clemson university student whose parents said he died after being hazed, passed in 2016, but included a provision in the law that says it would expire in June of this year. The House Education and Public Works committee unanimously approved the bill during a Wednesday meeting, which sets the bill up for a vote by the full S.C. House of Representatives.

“All this bill would do is remove that sunset provision,” said Rep. Bill Taylor, R-Aiken, who sits on the house Education and Public Works committee. “We’ve heard from universities that this is not a burden and in fact it’s been an enlightenment.... It’s a great transparency bill.”

Current law, and the pending bill that extends it, applies only to fraternities and sororities. However, some schools such as the University of South Carolina, have also published alcohol and hazing violations against club sports.

“We strongly support the renewal of the Tucker Hipps Transparency Act,” University of South Carolina spokesman Jeff Stensland said in an email. “It’s an important tool that helps inform prospective students and families about organizations, and also holds those groups accountable for their actions.”

The bill — sponsored by Reps. Gary Clary, R-Pickens, Mandy Powers Norrell, D-Lancaster, Dwight Loftis, R-Greenville, Jonathon Hill, R-Anderson — enjoys bipartisan support. In 2016, the bill passed with a unanimous vote in the House, records show.

The state’s colleges and universities would not need to spend any additional money to enforce the bill, according to the S.C. Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office.

Lucas Daprile has been covering the University of South Carolina and higher education since March 2018. Before working for The State, he graduated from Ohio University and worked as an investigative reporter at TCPalm in Stuart, FL. There, where he won multiple awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for his political and environmental coverage.


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