Hazing News


SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Police have arrested four young men on charges alleging a fraternity alcohol hazing ritual led to the death of a California Polytechnic State University student from Texas.

San Luis Obispo police say the four — ages 20 to 22 — surrendered Thursday on criminal warrants in the death of 18-year-old Carson Starkey of Austin.

Starkey died in December and was found to have a blood-alcohol level between 0.39 percent and 0.44 percent.

Police say Starkey was pledging the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity and had to go through a ritual of drinking a bag full of alcoholic beverages.

Two of the defendants are charged with felony hazing causing death or great bodily injury. The other two face misdemeanors.

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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