Hazing News

Chico case goes to trial

Judge rejects settlement, sending hazing case to trial
The Associated Press
Article Launched: 12/17/2007 12:39:22 PM PST

OROVILLE, Calif.—Three members of a defunct Chico State University fraternity will stand trial for allegedly forcing pledges to jump into ice baths and perform other hazing rituals last spring after a judge rejected a settlement offer.

The three former Beta Theta Pi officials—president, Christopher David Bizot, 23, vice president Michael Francis Murphy, 22, and fraternity ritualist, Matthew William Krupp, 22—are accused of subjecting 13 pledges to excessive calisthenics and immersion in “unhealthful ice baths” during rush activities last April.

The pledges say they were never in danger. Last month they proposed a settlement that would pay them $1 each.

Butte County Superior Court Judge Tamara Mosbarger on Monday sided with the county prosecutor, saying the settlement was an improper attempt to circumvent “Matt’s Law.”

The law was enacted last year after Matt Carrington, a Chico State student, died from water poisoning in 2005 after going through a fraternity ritual.

Lawyers for the three said they would appeal the judge’s ruling. If convicted, the defendants face up to one year in jail.


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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