By Pat Warren

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Students break the silence surrounding college hazing. Their testimony before lawmakers Tuesday supports a bill to increase the penalties for hazing.

Political reporter Pat Warren reports the intent is to make the perpetrators pay.

Literally pay–ten times the amount the law allows now.

A college experience of pain and suffering.

“We were pushed, punched, slapped around. I got to a point where my nose was bleeding,” said Aysa Trowell.

“I ended up in the hospital for five days with bruises on my buttocks and my back and some internal bleeding,” said Johnny Powell.

“This bill would scare people from doing this,” said Kevin Hayes.

This bill is for students like Johnny Powell, who is now suing over injuries he allegedly received at the hands of fraternity members. He and Aysa Trowell and Kevin Hayes want to see the penalty for hazing increased from $500 to $5,000.

“People who do it, they are college students, they are individuals who have families, who have jobs. So by raising the financial penalty, it will scare them. The best way to hurt somebody is to hurt them in their wallet. By doing that, you’re hurting their mortgage, you’re hurting their tuition. You’re hurting everything,” said Hayes.

A WJZ investigation in November reported dozens of cases of hazing on campuses across the state.

“How do you push me around and make me bleed and punch me and then call me your sister and say that we’re family?” said Trowell.

“You get brainwashed into kind of accepting it,” Powell said.

The bill does not expand criminal charges.

“We felt the financial penalties would help us get the message out,” said Del. Karen Young, (D) Frederick County.

Colleges and universities take all forms of hazing seriously.

“It was just kind of like torture, honestly,” said Powell.

The goal is to stop it.

The bill was introduced last year. It failed to pass. Sponsors are hoping it will gain traction.

The bill is in committees in both the House and the Senate.

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