Hazing News

Clemson and Sigma Phi Epsilon settled lawsuit with family of Tucker Hipps

Read the whole story here

And an excerpt from the Greenville online

Moderator:  My position is that the Tucker Hipps case should be on the public record. I vehemently object to efforts by defendant Sam Carney to seal critical documents.

The settlement was reached after extensive mediation in the case, according to court documents filed electronically Wednesday with the Pickens County Courthouse.

The amount of the settlement was not disclosed in legal documents and still has to be approved by a judge, according to court records.

Hipps, a 19-year-old Clemson University sophomore and fraternity pledge, was found dead near the S.C. 93 bridge hours after going on a run with about 30 members of the fraternity on Sept. 22, 2014.

His parents, Cindy and Gary Hipps, filed a wrongful death lawsuit and a survival action seeking $25 million from the defendants in March 2015. The two cases were consolidated earlier this year.

Tucker Hipps, a Wren High School graduate from Piedmont, was president of his fraternity’s pledge class before he died. Because of that, requests from fraternity brothers were routed through him.

According to lawsuits filed by his parents, the run Hipps went on the day he died was organized by fraternity leaders Sam Carney, Thomas Carter King and Campbell Starr, the three students named in the lawsuit.

Hipps was asked before the run to bring 30 McDonald’s biscuits and 2 gallons of chocolate milk to the fraternity members, according to the lawsuit. The failure to bring breakfast led to a confrontation between Hipps and King that happened on or near the bridge, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuits allege that Hipps was forced to walk a narrow railing on the bridge over Lake Hartwell by members of the fraternity.

He died of head injuries that Oconee County Coroner Karl Addis said were consistent with having hit his head on rip rap rocks in shallow water below.

The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office has investigated the case and has received assistance from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division. No criminal charges have been filed in the case.

In a court filing related to the civil cases, an attorney for Carney has filed a motion to seal certain documents in the case. Those documents Carney seeks to have sealed include excerpts from the deposition of a forensic pathologist.

Carney is the son of the Delaware governor…

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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