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May lusot! San Beda Law dean Ranhilio Aquino: Schools can’t be liable for hazing deaths if…

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Universities and colleges may not be held liable for deaths of their students in hazing rites if they exerted every effort to prevent them from joining fraternities and other organizations which employ these violent methods, San Beda College of Law dean Fr. Ranhilio Aquino said.

In his October 2 column for the Manila Standard, Aquino said a school cannot be blamed for a neophyte’s death if the recruitment and initiation activities occurred outside the campus.

He noted that this was the case when a Bedan student died due to hazing a few years ago at the hands of an unaccredited fraternity.

“How were the the dean and the law professors, the Benedictine monks and their associates ever to know what groups the students join when they are outside the campus after class hours, or even within class hours, if students absent themselves?” Aquino said.

The dean of San Beda College of Law weighed in on the issue of fraternities’ existence following the death of 22-year-old law student Horacio “Atio” Castillo III, after allegedly undergoing hazing by the University of Santo Tomas-based Aegis Juris fraternity.

UST officials have said that Aegis Juris was not accredited as a student organization for the current school year.

For Aquino, one way for school administrators to prevent deaths or injuries due to hazing is to accredit all organizations recruiting students.

“It is well within the academic freedom of an institution to lay down conditions for the admission and retention of members of the academic community—and one such disciplinary requirement could be that students seek accreditation of the organizations of which they are members and to whose rites they become subject,” he said.