Hazing News

2023 Athletic Business interview with database keeper Hank Nuwer

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Excerpt: copyright Athletic Business

Though never hazed as a college athlete or team manager himself, Hank Nuwer has had an interest in hazing ever since he, as the University of Nevada-Reno’s graduate student president, witnessed a student frothing at the mouth under a pool table from excess alcohol consumption. It was an episode that Nuwer didn’t report to police and, subsequently, the same group of perpetrators hazed and killed a football player. It was 1975, and Nuwer began compiling a database of hazing-related fatalities — the Unofficial Hazing Clearinghouse — that he still maintains today. A former Human Behavior and Inside Sports reporter and the current managing editor of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner in Alaska, the 77-year-old has also authored five nonfiction books on hazing, one fictional novel, and too many book chapters and articles to count. AB senior editor Paul Steinbach, having posted two unrelated hazing accounts to AB Today on July 19, talked to Nuwer — who was working on an introduction for the forthcoming scholarly book Hazing In The New Millenia — about the persistence of a practice that can ruin careers and end lives.

Are you noticing any trends in your data?

In terms of deaths, there hasn’t been one for a while, which is good, because it had been every year from ’59 to 2021. It’s not long enough to say that’s a trend and it’s ended, that’s for sure, because there have been so many close calls. If I could go back, I would have kept track of the close calls. The problem is a lot of the close calls never make the paper.

How do you monitor hazing cases for the Clearinghouse? Does it take a headline about a fatality?

Or, and very commonly, even before it hits the paper, an email — because of the database. Not every parent, but when there’s a death, nearly all of them will be on the phone or calling hazing prevention to get my number.

Continued at Athletic Business site

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. 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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