Hazing News

Delaware death case closing arguments TODAY with Sigma Alpha Mu’s Matthew Siracusa and Jesse Aaron on trial

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Excerpt: Brett Griffin, 18, of Kendall Park, N.J., died of alcohol poisoning early on Nov. 8, 2008. Witnesses testified that it was a tradition at the fraternity that pledges were supposed to consume an entire bottle of liquor at the “Big Brother” party. A medical expert testified that Griffin had the equivalent of a full 750ml bottle of Southern Comfort in his system when he died.

Timothy and Julie Griffin filed a hazing and wrongful death suit against the national fraternity and several fraternity brothers in 2009. All but former chapter president Aaron and former pledge master Matthew Siracusa either settled with the family or were dropped from the case before trial.

Siracusa rested his defense Wednesday without calling any witnesses.

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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