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Following tragic loss collaborative pursuit at Arizona Legislature results in ‘Jack’s Law’

Photo of Arizona college party scene
A stock photograph meant to illustrate the scene where binge drinking is occurring.
(File Photo/

Hazing in all its forms becomes illegal in Arizona next month

Staff Reports | Digital Free Press

Beginning Saturday, Sept. 24 it will be illegal to conduct any kind of hazing in the state of Arizona — the result of a collaborative effort.

Phoenix Attorney Pat McGroder; Arizona Rep. John Kavanagh (R) Dist. 23; Grace Culolias, mother of Jack Culolias; and the family of hazing victim Christian Leventhal have come together to put an end to what they say has become a dangerous practice far outside the bounds of any rite of passage.

House Bill 2322, which is known within legislative hallways as “Jack’s Law,” is being ceremonially signed Thursday by Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey. It goes into effect Sept. 24, and protects both college and high school students, tenets of the legislation say.

Arizona Legislature chambers.
(File Photos/

The law is named after 19-year-old Arizona State University student Jack Culolias, who died as result of drinking excessive amounts of alcohol during a fraternity pledge event. His body was later recovered in Tempe Town Lake some three weeks later, according to a press release.

“No other parent should ever have to go through losing a child to these horrendous hazing acts,” said Grace Culolias, in a prepared statement. “Our Jack would be proud today to see change enacted in his memory.”

Now “Jack’s Law” in Arizona makes hazing a crime — and makes hazing resulting in death a felony. The law protects against physical and mental abuse, as well as sexual humiliation, the release states.

“The purpose of Jack’s Law is to save lives, plain and simple so this law also contains a provision to prevent the prosecution of those who take an injured student to the emergency room, or otherwise seek help from the authorities,” said Pat McGroder, who served as attorney for the Culolias family. “Jack Culolias should have never been hazed in the first place we won’t to stop hazing of all forms but the moment he was in distress someone should have come to his aide and taken him to the hospital.”

The new law, proponents say, updates preexisting rules that directed public universities to establish anti-hazing programs and regulations.

For the full statutory language of the law, go here.

Proponents of the new legislation report Arizona was one of six states that didn’t carry any kind of penalty for hazing activities.

“HB2322 is a long overdue bill banning dangerous hazing at our colleges and universities,” said Rep. Kavanagh. “College should be a time of learning, exploring and fun. Irresponsible dangerous hazing as part of initiation procedures can turn that positive time of life into a tragedy for hazing victims and their families. HB 2322 not only bans dangerous hazing but also makes preparing to perform such acts illegal, which will also avert tragedy.”

— Arizona Rep. John Kavanagh

Other victims include 18-year-old Christian Leventhal who nearly died and sustained permanent medical complications following a series of hazing incidents during “Hell Week” by a fraternity at ASU in 2018, legal representatives say.

As a result, Attorney Pat McGroder won large settlements for the Leventhal family and the family of Jack Culolias. McGroder worked with victims and Rep. Kavanagh on legislation to help prevent further tragedies.

During a hearing on the legislation, Mrs. Leventhal urged lawmakers to take action to prevent another tragedy.

“One of the most disturbing revelations after filing our lawsuit was the callousness of the individuals involved in perpetrating the hazing,” Mrs. Leventhal said at the Arizona capitol. “Text messages revealed that they did not fear any repercussions for the damage they had done.”

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