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Adam Zwecker’s story at Cornell

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Excerpt from Cornell Sun:

Effects of Hazing Last Long After Pledging Proccess

  Adam Zwecker ’04 stood tired and barefoot on shards of broken glass with the rest of his fraternity pledge class. For seven hours, Zwecker and his pledge mates had been pelted by eggs and forced to do push-ups by the brothers at his chosen fraternity, activities designed to initiate aspiring members into the organization. The exercise may sound extreme, but it was just another night of hazing for a pledge class in 2001.

“That was one of the nights when you go home and you wonder, ‘What the hell am I doing?’” Zwecker said. “The frat brothers tried to justify it by saying that it would build unity for us, but it was kind of just a stupid, gross experience.”

Zwecker’s story is posted in detail at hazing.cornell.edu, a University-operated website designed to foster community awareness about the incidence of hazing on campus. Hazing incidents like those experienced by Zwecker would ultimately inspire Susan Murphy, vice president for student and services, to appoint a Task Force on Hazing in 2001. That group would eventually recommend the launch of the University’s hazing website four years later.

Along with an account of Zwecker’s experience, originally compiled by Zwecker himself as part of an independent study research project in 2003, the site also features a list of recent hazing violations and a mechanism for making anonymous reports of hazing to University officials. Tim Marchell, director of mental health initiatives at Gannett Health Services, played an integral role in the development of the website. He explained that hazing is an important issue that continues to affect the Cornell campus and that the issue needed to be addressed in the public sphere.

By Hank Nuwer

Hank Nuwer is the Indiana-based author of 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 new book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press.

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