Hazing News

A hazing primer for those working with fraternities and sororities





Hazing continues to undermine the health and safety of students, their groups, and the larger communities in which they operate. Humiliating, degrading, or having the potential to be physically and/or emotionally harmful, hazing is at odds with the missions of educational institutions and national/international organizations and undermines ethical leadership development and practice. As such, many campus and national/international organization leaders have heeded the call to action to prevent hazing. Despite these concerted efforts, however, hazing persists. Analyses of high-profile and lesser-known cases have illuminated the social complexity of hazing behavior and the limits to traditional prevention approaches. Research can help us to better understand the complex and nuanced factors contributing to, and mitigating or eliminating, hazing behaviors. A developing knowledge base about its prevention holds promise for providing fraternity and sorority professionals with data-driven approaches to guide more effective practice. This white paper is intended as a comprehensive, yet concise review of the literature on the topic of fraternity and sorority hazing and its prevention. In writing this, our goals were to provide readers with a snapshot of the research and to delineate its practical applications for practitioners committed to hazing prevention. Literature Review Whether it was the wearing of certain attire, paddling, forced alcohol or food consumption, competition between first-year and upper-class students, or brutal “pranks” between students, hazing is an unfortunate thread woven into the fabric of college campuses since their early history (Syrett, 2009; Nuwer, 2020; Trota & Johnson, 2004). At least one hazing death has occurred every year in the United States since 1959, with the vast majority occurring within fraternities (Nuwer, 2020)

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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