This Week in Hazing: by Hank Nuwer (Hanknuwer.com)
Page under construction for one full year until November 2012. HN
November 30 1) Funeral today for Robert Champion, FAMU band member. One of the largest gatherings to discuss hazing education occurred in Atlanta in 2005.
December 1 Carson Starkey died following a hazing
on December 1, 2008. He pledged Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity at
California Polytechnic University, in San Luis Obispo.
Archive (will be moved to separate page after page is completed)
March 12 Walter Dean Jennings, a Plattsburgh State pledge, died from
the catastrophic effects of drinking numerous gallons of water required
by Psi Epsilon Chi, a disgraced and banned chapter with support from
diehard alumni. .
March 30 Gary DeVercelly Jr. died at Theta Chi's Rider University
chapter. Two administrators were charged with crimes but charges
September 17 The 1959 death of Richard Swanson by choking might have
been prevented if Kappa Sigma brothers and fellow pledges had not
stonewalled rescue workers that he had been ordered to swallow a slab
of raw liver.
19 The death of Nick Haben, a non-drinker, in a lacrosse
initiation was preceded by a series of stunts performed in fraternity
houses of team members. Nick's story was told in Chapter Five of Hank
Nuwer's High School Hazing: When Rites Become Wrongs. This is high
school photo with parents Dale and Alice Haben.
Donnie Wade died in a 2009 hazing death at Prairie View A & M.
4 Chad Meredith, 18, an Indianapolis baseball player in high
school, died by drowning while Kappa Sigma fraternity brothers who
ordered him into Lake Osceola stood and watched. Chad's parents and
attorney David Bianchi engineered the toughest hazing law in country in
17 Sigma Alpha Epsilon pledge and University of Texas lacrosse
athlete Tyler Cross died in a 2006 fall while intoxicated. It took many
months before an investigation linked his death to hazing.
18. Harrison Kowiak died at Lenoire-Rhyne in a foolish and
dangerous game of "jump-on-the-pledge" football this day in 2008. He
suffered a head injury and died. Mr. and Mrs Brian Kowiak settled
recently with the school and Theta Chi National.
November 19 India's court system tracks 70 cases of hazing (ragging in India) during the 2007-2008 school year, spurring demands from the public for hazing and ragging legislation.
November 20 In 1988, Sigma Tau Gamma enacted antihazing policies.
November 21. Michael Starks, a pledge, died from alcohol poisoning
in a hazing incident involving the Utah State chapter of Sigma Nu and a
campus sorority. His family has been active in changing Utah's hazing
law, among other hazing causes.
November 22 The Boulder Beer Company in 2005 touts
its Hazed and Confused brand despite the death in Boulder of fraternity
pledge Gordie Bailey in 2004 at the University of Colorado. The
beer is still on the market.
Martin V. Bergen died of peritonitis following physical hazing on November 22, 1899 at a Lawrenceville school in New Jersey.
November 23 Five Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity brothers at Fort Valley
State College were charged with battery in a five-hour hazing-related
beating with paddles and canes in 1989. Spin Magazine later
criticized FVSC (Georgia) for doing way too little in the wake of the
attacks. Hazing allegations consistently have plagued FVSC by other
fraternal groups over the years since 1989.
November 24 Four Russian border guards received sentences of up
to 23 years for the death of one conscript and severe injuries to
others in 1998.
November 25 A hazing incident involving a battle between freshmen and sophomores at Vanderbilt was the main source of news for the Vanderbilt Hustler in 1907.
November 26 In 1999 the Chronicle of Higher Education published my op-ed piece on cultlike hazing in fraternities.
November 27 In 2001, two members of James Madison University's Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter were charged with hazing.
Ukraine: US STATE DEPARTMENT report below
"On November 27, Oleksandr Rybka died following a beating by two fellow
soldiers the day after he reported to a training base in Chernihiv
Oblast. According to his relatives, Rybka called home on November 26
saying that two sergeants had demanded money. Prosecutor General
Oleksandr Medvedko stated that military prosecutors had initiated a
criminal case. For the first time in recent history, military officials
immediately acknowledged the death of a military member as the result
of hazing. Defense Minister Hrytsenko, who took the investigation under
his personal control, stated that this was a hazing death and added
that it was the first to occur in two years.
The Association of Soldiers' Mothers (ASM) reported that violent hazing
continued to be widespread. According to the military watchdog group
Mothers of Killed Soldiers, most deaths are labeled suicide or accident
without investigation. In 2005 there were nine suicides while in
service, 10 suicides outside regular service, and two soldiers were
killed by their fellow servicemen. According to the Kharkiv Human
Rights Protection Group, seven criminal cases of soldier-on-soldier
violence were initiated in the Kharkiv garrison in 2005.
According to the ASM, garrison prosecutors often did not investigate
complaints of hazing, accepted bribes not to press charges against the
perpetrators of such violence, or delayed the start of trial
proceedings until potential witnesses were discharged from the
military. Garrison prosecutors wrongfully confined soldiers who
complained about hazing to psychiatric hospitals, and punishment
administered for committing or condoning hazing was insufficient to
deter further abuses.
Police abused Roma and harassed and abused dark skinned persons.
Representatives of these groups claimed that police officials routinely
ignored, and sometimes abetted, vigilante violence against them,
especially in Crimea (see section 5)." Additional info on 91 hazing cases.
November 28 This article ran in the New York Times in 1881. It is
likely the first lawsuit ever for hazing. "The Maine newspapers tell us
that a Portland lawyer [Sewall C. Strout] has brought suit on November 18 claiming $10,000 from each of
seven Sophomores in Bowdoin College for
injuries to his Freshman son's eyes by a piece of coal thrown through
his window in a hazing scrape." The suit named sophomores Noah
Pettingall [spelling is likely different according to a check of
Bowdoin history], Charles Dunning, Samuel Packard, Ernest Smith, Henry
Bradley, Donald Clark and Albert Sweetzer. The injured son was Charles Strout, and his brief bio is here. Chances are he was to endure hazing again, for he joined many fraternal organizations as an adult.
November 29 The Sigma Tau Gamma chapter at Plattsburgh State earned
national recognition for anti-hazing statements in the documentary "Unless a Death Occurs: Hazing Examined."
In 2006 on this date, newspaper accounts reported that the
chapter admitted it earlier that month had required its members swallow
a nickel as a requirement for initiation. The practice came to light
when a member became ill enough tto be hospitalized. The chapter
took responsibility for its actions, according to news reports. Hazing
at Plattsburgh State became a national story with the 2003 death of
Walter "Dean" Jennings, a pledge for a subrosa chapter. Plattsburgh
Greek life has become a national voice for hazing containment or
Page in progress
15 The death by hazing of Michael Davis for Kappa Alpha Psi
occurred in 1994. That story is told in the book Wrongs of Pasage by
Hank Nuwer. His notebook alked about hazing being a physical
conditioning of the mind. He was beaten to death at Southeast Missouri
State University. At the time, every possible source at Southeast
Missouri State from newspaper adviser to administrator refused to
answer repeated phone calls and emails requesting information on the
death for the book.
24. Death of Klan Alpine fraternity pledge Chuck Stenzel at
Alfred University in 1978. The story of Chuck is in Broken
Pledges by Hank Nuwer.
29 The 1995 death of Gabe Higgins (left with close friends) at the
University of Texas occurred by drowning on the Colorado River after a
night of drinking and foolish stunts required then for admissin into
the Texas Cowboys, a spirit club. His mother, Ruth Harten wrote a book