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Alleged hazing victim seeks to strengthen state law

Bowie State University junior Kevin Hayes has said he filed his lawsuit against Alpha Phi Alpha over alleged hazing-related injuries because he wants to “change things from the inside.”

Now, Hayes is also seeking to change things through legislation in Annapolis.

Sen. Jamie Raskin, D-Montgomery, proposed legislation last year that would have increased the fine for violating the state’s anti-hazing law from $500 to $5,000. The bill passed the Senate but did not get out of a House committee.

Hayes emailed a letter to Raskin last week applauding the senator’s effort and encouraging him to refile it again during the upcoming General Assembly session. But Hayes also asked Raskin to amend the legislation to include a mandatory weekend in jail to “truly give offenders a taste of the seriousness of their actions.”

“Moreover, adding a mandatory weekend in jail will be [a] deterrent that will save lives and save students from serious bodily injury,” Hayes wrote.

Hayes’ letter recounted the allegations in his lawsuit, and he also said he would be willing to testify in favor of Raskin’s bill.

“Those who study hazing say victims might not understand what hazing is or might not recognize it until it’s too late,” Hayes wrote. “Please do not let someone die or be seriously injured before you act.”

Raskin, in response to the letter, said he would refile the bill and “absolutely take up” Hayes’ offer to testify. The senator also said he would discuss with Hayes the mandatory jail weekend amendment.

We’ll keep you posted on the legislation.

(Hayes’ letter and Raskin’s response were provided to The Daily Record by Hayes’ lawyer, Upper Marlboro solo practitioner Jimmy A. Bell.)