COLUMBIA, S.C. – State lawmakers are taking steps to bring more information to parents and college students about the organizations that they are involved in.
The bill comes after Clemson University student Tucker Hipps died in 2014 while pledging a fraternity.
Gary Hipps, father of Tucker Hipps, says he and his wife didn’t know about allegations of hazing, sexual assault, and alcohol abuse against several fraternities at Clemson until two days after their son died.
“Had we known the dangers based on allegations of misconduct, we would have pulled our son from this organization, thereby saving his life,” he said.
Tucker Hipps died after falling from a bridge into Lake Hartwell in 2014 during an early morning run with members of the fraternity he was pledging.
After losing their son, Gary and Cindy Hipps feel the public has the right to know all infractions made by any university organization, so they came up with the “Tucker Hipps Transparency Act.”
The purpose of the bill sponsored by Rep. Joshua Putnam (R-Anderson) is to make information on violations readily accessible to the public.
“What this bill would allow is for students and parents to have the information to make the best choices,” Representative Putnam said.
Whether it be criminal or code of conduct related, this bill would make the information available through outlets like the university websites.
Cindy Hipps told us, “We’re not doing this just to have Tucker’s name on a bill, we’re doing this because this information is important to parents and students.”
“Had we known what we know now, Tucker would have never been on that bridge that morning,” she said.
If passed, the bill would not expose the identity of students who committed infractions while being a member of university organizations like fraternities and sororities.
The main goal of this bill is to hold organizations accountable for their actions.
The bill was tabled on Thursday and will be further discussed in a meeting the following week.