Elsewhere – Anti-hazing bill strides closer to being law

By Jennifer Scholtes

The Orion (Cal State-Chico)

(U-WIRE) SACRAMENTO, Calif.-Debbie Smith was so nervous Tuesday she didn’t think she could walk across the courtroom to speak about why an anti-hazing bill should become state law, she said.

But Smith, whose son died during a hazing ritual, was able to clear the first hurdle toward getting the law passed.

The California Public Safety Committee voted unanimously in support of the Matt’s Law bill Tuesday. It will go through seven more committees before becoming a law.

Smith’s son, Matthew Carrington, a 21-year-old California State University-Chico student, died Feb. 2, 2005, after drinking from a five-gallon jug of water and doing calisthenics throughout the night, police said.

Smith told the committee how her son died and why she thinks hazing needs to stop.

“It’s not about sisterly or brotherly love,” she said. “It’s about power-power to reduce our children to nothing.”

Smith was nervous the first committee wouldn’t pass the bill, she said.

“Oh God, what a great day today was,” she said. “I have been such a wreck.”

If all eight committees pass the bill, Matt’s Law will make hazing a misdemeanor, even if the hazing doesn’t injure anyone. And it will make hazing illegal for everyone, not just students.