Hazing News

Families of Virginia State “Men of Honor” victims file lawsuit

Here is the link to Richmond Times Dispatch and a brief excerpt:


The families of two Virginia State University students who drowned during their initiation into a fraternal group two years ago have filed twin $25 million wrongful death suits against the state of Virginia and the four men recently convicted in their deaths.

The mothers of Jauwan Holmes and Marvell Edmondson, who were swept away on April 20, 2013, while trying to cross the Appomattox River, are each seeking $25 million in compensatory damages against the state, claiming VSU was grossly negligent in its duty to protect the students from harm.

Also named as defendants are James A. Mackey Sr., 37; Charles E. Zollicoffer II, 30; Eriq K. Benson, 20; and Cory D. Baytop, 27, all of whom pleaded guilty or no contest Feb. 12 to hazing and involuntary manslaughter charges. The four were sentenced to varying jail terms, ranging from five to 14 months.

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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