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Fierberg and Crane: clean up the alcohol culture in houses a key to death prevention

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“I believe the fraternity industry has known the shortcomings (of its risk-management policies) for a long time and has done nothing to fix it,” said Douglas Fierberg, a Washington, D.C., attorney who has represented numerous victims of hazing and alcohol-related deaths nationwide.

There is a “duck and cover” mentality among universities and fraternities when an alcohol- or hazing-related death occurs, Fierberg said, and for that reason little has changed.

In an effort to deal with liability issues, a group of 47 national fraternities and sororities has banded together in an organization known as the Fraternal Information Program Group. According to the FIPG Web site, the organization’s goal is “to be the one-stop resource for risk-management education …” for the entire campus community.

By Hank Nuwer

Hank Nuwer is the Indiana-based author of 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 new book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press.

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