Hazing News

Anderson Cooper and Hank Nuwer


Section: News; Domestic; SHOW


Length: 7746 words


Byline: Anderson Cooper, Kelly Wallace, Rob Marciano, Jeanne Meserve, Martin Savidge, Susan Candiotti, Deborah Feyerick


Guests: Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom, Gary Calhoun, Mark Hosenball, Hank Nuwer

Highlight: A court delays the California recall because of punch card ballots. Hurricane Isabel could hit land this week.



ANDERSON COOPER, HOST: A court blocks California’s recall election. What happens now?

Hurricane Isabel, how bad will it be?

Osama bin Laden: why can’t the U.S. find him?

A toddler is dead, her brother clings to life. The prime suspect? Their father.

An Air Force top gun survives a fiery crash.

Arnold and Maria get the Oprah treatment.

The new material mommy?

ANNOUNCER: Live from the CNN broadcast center in New York, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360.


COOPER: Hey, there. Good evening. Thanks for joining us. We’ve got a lot ahead tonight.


COOPER: They called it water torture. It’s not just this one underground fraternity that hazes, not by a long shot. Remember the girls on that Chicago high school football team, the powder puff team they called it. Well, it’s average, ordinary young men and women who do it. The question is, why?

Hank Nuwer is the author of “The Hazing Reader.” He joins us tonight from Indianapolis. Hank, thanks for being with us. I’m sorry it’s under these circumstances.

You know you heard from the pledge in that piece who said, “I wanted to walk away, but I didn’t.” Why don’t pledges just say, this is ridiculous.

HANK NUWER, “THE HAZING READER”: Well, we live at a time where status and wanting to belong would be very, very important to a young person, and that person is seen others of status get into the group and supposedly they have endured a lot of rituals. So this person goes through an ordeal and expects to get respect and status by going through it.

COOPER: Remember that powder puff football game, or whatever it was they called it. I think we have some video of that. You know, there were plenty of people just standing by on the sidelines watching this.

You know we talked about the pledges. Let’s talk about the people, the fraternity members and the people who were around them who were watching it. Why don’t they at some point step in and say, enough is enough?

NUWER: Well, in my new book, “The Hazing Reader,” we talk about group think, and people that are the bystanders tend to watch it because they either, number one, think that the group members are good people and they wouldn’t injure anyone or, number two, they’ve bought into the system and allowed these people to haze for them as sort of representatives of them. In terms of fighting this then, that 80 percent or so of bystanders would be the people we have to reach in early education programs so they do step in.

COOPER: But how do you reach these people? Because I mean this school in particular, where this young man died from this so-called water torture, you know they had a hazing hotline, they had education programs. This fraternity was apparently underground, but it wasn’t as if they had stuck their head in the sand. They were out there talking about hazing. That doesn’t seem to be enough.

NUWER: No, it isn’t enough. And I think that I would like to see people, in my opinion, reach into bullying programs as early as the first and second grades. What we are seeing…

COOPER: You’re saying it starts with bullying?

NUWER: Yes, I believe it does. I think that students are very, very aggressive, do not learn how to play at the early age. And so they turn to crime and violent behavior and sort of rituals like hazing in order to belong. And we are seeing that it kind of escalates over time.

COOPER: Yes, it certainly does escalate. And I think of this other video from Las Vegas, this gang or so-called gang, the 311 click (ph), who were basically videotaping themselves beating up somebody. I mean, it does veer into illegal behavior.

NUWER: It is totally into illegal behavior, and I think part of the frightening thing is that certainly police who work with gangs and so forth are not surprised by this. The point is, unless it gets on a video, we tend to overlook it. We have this sort of, we love a gladiator mentality in this country.

We have it in the media. We encourage it by the kind of shows that we have on television. And it’s certainly — these younger people are coming into it. The fights in Las Vegas came after something called the bum fights, in which bums were paid to engage in fights.

COOPER: Yes, I certainly remember those. Hank Nuwer, appreciate you joining us. I’m sorry we only talk about this stuff when there’s death. But I do appreciate you shedding some light on it. Thanks very much.

NUWER: Thank you very much.

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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