FRANKFORT, Ky. — Last year, a University of Kentucky freshman died after being found unresponsive at a fraternity house. The Fayette County Coroner’s Office said in a report that Lofton Hazelwood’s death was an accident due to presumed alcohol toxicity. 

What You Need To Know

  • Thomas “Lofton” Hazelwood died last year at UK’s Farmhouse fraternity

  • Fayette County Coroner’s Office said in a report that Lofton’s death was an accident due to presumed alcohol toxicity.

  • The Hazelwood family hopes the state legislature will pass “Lofton’s Law,” making hazing a felony in the state of Kentucky

Now the Hazelwood family is demanding change as they believe their son’s death was due to fraternity hazing. “We need Lofton’s Law in place as soon as possible, it’s not going to bring my son back but it might save somebody else’s son,” Tracey Hazelwood said.

The mother of late 18-year-old, Thomas “Lofton” Hazelwood, Tracey Hazelwood introduced “Lofton’s Law” to the state legislatures on Thursday.

Hazelwood shared details about her son’s life after he received his pledge card from the Farmhouse Fraternity.

“Then they had them vandalize some properties, they spray painted some buildings, then they had to chew tobacco and not spit until they vomited, then they had to report to the house super early in the mornings to do wall sits while they were verbally abused,” Tracey Hazelwood said.

13 states have laws that make hazing a felony and the Hazelwood family hopes to add Kentucky to that list with Lofton’s Law.

“Section 2 sets out that intentional and wanton participation in hazing that results in serious physical injury or death to a student is hazing in the first degree and is a Class D felony,” Sen. Robby Mills said. “Section 3 sets out that reckless participation in hazing shall be considered hazing in the second degree and is a Class A misdemeanor.”

Currently, it’s up to universities and colleges to enact anti-hazing policies. As of now, the penalties include expulsion or suspension of a student as well as an organization. Lawmakers’ agree, change needs to be made. “I hope that you can keep on moving on and it is important for your Lofton,” Sen. Alice Forgy Kerr said. “I would be in agreement, the penalty should be as tough as you can make it.”

Since Lofton’s death, the University of Kentucky has revoked the chapter status of the Farmhouse Fraternity for at least 4 years, but that’s not enough for the Hazelwood family. “Anyone who met Lofton was instantly drawn to him,” T. Hazelwood said. “I made a promise to him that I would do everything in my power to stop these senseless acts.”

Senator Mills and Representative Dixon brought the bill forward to receive comments and feedback ahead of the 2023 session.