Hal Stuart was appalled to learn his son was dunked in ice water, beaten with a paddle and driven around blindfolded in a speeding car, all part of a 2012 fraternity initiation at Salisbury University.
Hoping to prevent other college students from being hazed, Stuart traveled Tuesday from Montgomery County to Annapolis to testify on a bill that would increase criminal fines for hazing.
"You're letting these kids play Russian roulette with other kids' lives," Stuart told members of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Jamie Raskin, a Montgomery County Democrat, would change criminal penalties for hazing, increasing the possible fine from $500 to $5,000. The offense would continue to carry a possible sentence of up to six months.
Stuart's son, Justin, eventually left Salisbury and is now a junior at the University of Maryland, College Park, his father said.
But Raskin said the law was developed to clarify hazing as a crime even if the victim consents — a unique feature of university hazing. Before the law was enacted in the 1980s, defendants could use the victim's consent as a defense in court, Raskin said.