Hazing News

Don’t miss the video embedded in BBC feature by Kelly-Leigh Cooper on deadly hazing

Here is the link and an excerpt.

Penn State University student Tim Piazza was pronounced dead in the early hours of 4 February. Like 13 other pledges to the Beta Theta Pi fraternity, the 19-year-old had been taking part in a “run the gauntlet” event at the chapter’s house, which involved drinking a mix of alcoholic drinks at a fast pace.

Authorities announced on Monday that the FBI had recovered a surveillance video they believe was intentionally deleted. They say it showed that Tim was given at least 18 drinks in the 82 minutes before he fell 15ft (4.6m) down the steps of the fraternity house’s basement.

But it would take about 12 hours before any of his fraternity brothers called emergency services.

Medical reports say he had a fractured skull and irreversible traumatic brain injuries. His spleen had ruptured in multiple places, causing extensive internal bleeding and haemorrhagic shock.

Now 26 members of Beta Theta Pi are facing charges related to his death that range from hazing to involuntary manslaughter.

While horrific, this incident is not isolated. Three other students at different US universities have died since Tim’s death – two in the last couple of weeks.

There have been 70 student deaths attributed to hazing since 2000. This does not include cases dismissed as accidents.

Read more and see the video!

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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