Tomorrow (Oct. 1, 2009) is the 20th anniversary of my book Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing. How appropriate that the anniversary falls on the day that the Hazing Taskforce meets at the University of Maine. The book told the story of the death of Chuck Stenzel at Alfred University and how Eileen Stevens, Chuck’s mother, worked so hard to raise awareness and to influence hazing legislation in New York State. Alfred University subsequently conducted an important 1999 hazing study in 1999. One of the book’s readers, Elizabeth Allan, co-founded Stophazing.org and is a host of the Maine Taskforce where she serves as a professor. Other important people mentioned in that book (Dave Westol, Jonathan Brant, etc.) still fight the good fight, and Dave of Theta Chi will be in Maine for HazingPrevention.org. Others like Fred Kershner of Delta Tau Delta are long dead.
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--http://realalaskadaily.com and in his weekly column "Far from Randolph" in the Winchester Star-Gazette of Randolph County, Indiana.