Hazing News

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

May 23, 2008

ERAU fraternity faces sanctions after hazing by Mark Harper

DAYTONA BEACH — The gator didn’t bite, but the university did.

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is sanctioning one of its fraternities after determining its members were involved in hazing.

Daytona Beach Shores police arrested five men April 17, charging them with attempting to capture an alligator from a miniature golf course. The five, all 19 or 18, were pledging Sigma Alpha Epsilon and had been dared by the fraternity to get a picture with a live alligator, said Aaron Clevenger, the university’s director of student activities.

“It was presented to them as a challenge,” said Cathy Downes, associate dean of students. “That, by definition, is hazing.”

The university is requiring the fraternity to perform community service and sponsor a hazing workshop. It is taking no action against the individual students, Clevenger said. The criminal cases are ongoing.

— Mark.Harper

By Hank Nuwer

Journalist Hank Nuwer is the Alaska author of Hazing: Destroying Young Lives; Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. In April of 2024, the Alaska Press Club awarded him first place in the Best Columnist division and Best Humorist, second place.

He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His current book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press. He is married to Malgorzata Wroblewska Nuwer of Warsaw, Poland and Fairbanks, Alaska. Nuwer is a former columnist for the Greenville (Ohio)Early Bird and former managing editor of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner in Alaska.
Nuwer was named the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists columnist of the year in 2021 for his “After Darke” column in the Early Bird. He also won third place for the column in 2022 from the Indiana chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He and his wife Gosia, recently of Union City, Ind., have owned 20 acres in Alaska for many years. “The move is a sort-of coming home for us,” said Nuwer. As a journalist, he’s written about the Alaskan Iditarod sled-dog race and other Alaska topics. Read his musings in his blog at Real Alaska Daily-- and in his weekly column "Far from Randolph" in the Winchester Star-Gazette of Randolph County, Indiana.

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