February 23rd, 2014
Here is the story link. New York’s major breakthrough in hazing law reform came as a result of the advocacy of Eileen Stevens following the death of her son Chuck Stenzel in February of 1978. I find it appropriate that this new law is being considered as the 36th anniversary of Chuck’s death is occurring.
CBS carried this story: “Two state lawmakers are looking to strengthen New York’s anti-hazing laws after a Baruch College fraternity member died in December.
Assemblyman David Weprin, D-Fresh Meadows, announced Sunday he has co-authored a bill that would expand the state’s current anti-hazing statute by prohibiting “all physical conduct and physical activities required from fraternities during the pledging ceremonies,” he said in a news release. The current law prohibits conduct that creates a substantial risk of physical injury or causes injury.
“We were kind of too general as to what would come under the classification of hazing, which is already illegal under New York state law,” Weprin told WCBS 880.
“We want to make fraternities or any organization aware of this legislation and the need to crack down on any of these rituals that involve any form of physical contact. The intent may not be to cause physical injury, but once you’re dealing with physical contact, you don’t know where it’s going to end up.”
The legislation has been named “Michael’s Law,” in honor of Chun “Michael” Deng, 19, who died after sustaining a fatal brain injury after participating in an initiation ritual during a Pi Delta Psi trip to Tunkhannock Township, Pa., in December. Earlier this month, a Pennsylvania coroner ruled Deng’s death a homicide.
Monroe County District Attorney David Christine has said he plans to file criminal charges in the freshman’s death.”
February 15th, 2014
@hazing @TheWellsReport sidesteps hazing in sport. It ignores hazing’s hidden harm, its pervasiveness, its mean-as-a-snake nature. Grade F to it. –Hank Nuwer
February 15th, 2014
Moderator: RE the Wells Report investigating the Miami Dolphins scandal. While my reading has me agreeing that Richie Incognito was guilty of harassment in and out of the workplace, I am utterly disappointed that the Wells Report sidesteps the issue of workplace and sports hazing. In short, the Wells Report lost an opportunity to send a message to the National Football League that the presence of workplace hazing is an anachronism in 2014. –Hank Nuwer
February 15th, 2014
Baruch College freshman Chun “Michael” Deng, 19, died in December of “closed head injuries … due to blunt force head trauma,” said Mary Wallace of the Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, coroner’s office.
In a statement Friday, Baruch College said it “supports the ongoing efforts of Monroe County law enforcement to hold responsible those involved in the tragic death.”
The college had said Deng died while participating in an unsanctioned fraternity pledging event and that it has a “zero tolerance policy regarding hazing.”
Charges are expected in Deng’s death, Monroe County District Attorney E. David Christine said in December.
More than 30 members of Pi Delta Psi were conducting a ritual outdoors for new pledges called the “glass ceiling,” according to a probable cause affidavit obtained by CNN.
The objective was for Deng, who was blindfolded and wearing a backpack filled with a 20-pound bag of sand, to navigate toward someone who was calling for him “while other fraternity brothers physically prevent that from happening,” witnesses said, according to the affidavit.
Deng fell backward, struck his head and was unconscious and unresponsive immediately after he fell, the document states.
Pi Delta Psi Fraternity Inc. said after Deng’s death that it had “revoked and terminated all affiliation with the Baruch Colony,” as the fraternity is known.
February 14th, 2014
Moderator: The first link will take you to a disturbing story that happened at a University of Minnesota branch campus at Morris. An assistant coach and white players dressed as KKK as their hazing for two black teammates.
#2 21 years later, former athlete Michael Morris, now a successful youth worker, recounts that night.
I had just broken a school wrestling record, and the assistant coach asked that I join him and other players for a celebration later that night off campus. On that brisk Halloween night in 1993, the assistant coach drove me and two other wrestlers down a pitch-black road where we came upon a large cross on fire surrounded by several men with white sheets over their heads. I immediately felt my heart sink. Before I could say anything, the coach turned the car around, concerned for our safety. As we headed in the opposite direction, the men in white sheets blocked the road. The coach grabbed a bat and opened the door.
We pleaded with him to stay in the car, but he didn’t listen. Mark, the other African-American wrestler in the car, looked at me in disbelief. At this moment I was prepared to fight for my life. As Mark and I slowly walked behind our coach in the dark of night, we heard a voice say, “Just give us the (n-word in plural) and we’ll let you go!” The man repeated himself twice, and as the coach began to respond, we suddenly heard gunfire: Click, click, boom! The coach fell to his knees, wiped his white shirt, which appeared to be covered in blood, and chokingly said, “Run for your lives!”
As I turned to run, all I could see were Mark’s white shoes kicking up dust as he fled from two people chasing him. I ran toward the car, 15 feet away. From the way it was positioned, I hoped to jump into the passenger door and slide to the driver’s side. But the door was locked. The men in white sheets ran toward me at full speed. I could either run or break the window; I chose the latter. After two unsuccessful attempts, I shattered the window with my elbow, dove into the car and drove off.
I was bleeding, praying and asking God for his protection. I sped away at more than 100 mph to the nearest town. When I got to the main street, I pulled into a gas station and jumped out of the car, forgetting to put the car in park. I frantically called 911 — I was terrified!
Minutes later, the assistant coach and several players arrived at the gas station laughing and saying, “Happy Halloween.” I stared in disbelief and took a deep breath. I was confused and stood in silence for about a minute and then asked, “Where is Mark?” One player was laughing, while another responded, “We can’t find him. Let’s go before the police come.”
By then the police were walking through the doors. I explained to an officer what had happened, and saw that the coach and players were being interviewed by other officers. At this moment Mark was still missing. I began to think maybe this was no prank. With my mind spinning, I didn’t trust anyone. My confusion turned to anger, so I called a trusted upperclassman from Omega Psi Phi, where I was a fraternity pledge. Within minutes, he dispatched men to the gas station, dressed in the fraternity’s signature purple coats and gold boots. It was not until then that I felt safe. Hours later, I learned Mark was also safe, having hid in a tree until help arrived.
In response to the incident, other law enforcement officials got involved and the coach and players were arrested, all claiming that it was nothing more than a prank. The incident caused racial tension on campus for weeks. To the school’s credit, they reacted responsibly and I felt supported. University officials did what they could to address the situation and put me at ease.