The parents of Chad Meredith, who drowned at 18 while trying to join a fraternity in 2001, have won their lengthy battle to make hazing a crime in Florida, the Associated Press reports. The Chad Meredith Act will be signed tomorrow by Gov. Jeb Bush. The law makes hazing that results in serious injury or death a felony punishable by up to five years in prison, even if the victim consents. Putting someone at risk of injury will become a first-degree misdemeanor.
Florida will be one of eight states that consider some types of hazing a felony, according to an online database compiled by StopHazing.org. Chad drowned in seven feet of water in a campus lake while swimming with members of the fraternity he hoped to join. The freshman was legally drunk with a blood-alcohol level of 0.13 percent. Two Kappa Sigma fraternity brothers swimming with Chad denied he was pressured into the stunt. His parents were convinced otherwise and received a $12.6 million award in a civil case.