Hazing News

From Debbie Smith: Matt’s Law

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Good Morning Everyone

As Matt’s 24th birthday approaches I thought it was a good time to give you an update as to what is going on in our efforts to bring awareness to hazing, and how Matt’s Law and Matt’s memory is making a difference not only in the state of California but across the nation.

10/30/2007 12:00:00 AM PDT

OROVILLE — A Butte County judge Monday refused to dismiss the first-known case of alleged criminal hazing in California, despite arguments on behalf of three Chico fraternity officials that the complaint against them is still too vague to properly defend the charges at trial.

It is believed to be the first case of its kind to be prosecuted under Matt’s Law, a 2007 statute that for the first time criminalized hazing activities on California schools or in fraternal organizations.

To read the article in its entirety click here…

You may remember this hazing incident from my last update, July 9, 2007, it has been a while.   Matt’s Law is holding strong and making a difference.  Up and down the coast of California colleges are teaching their students about Matt’s Law.  I receive emails and articles weekly about how our colleges are educating their faculty about Matt’s Law and making it a part of their student orientation along with hazing awareness.

From across the nation I receive emails and articles from colleges that are telling Matt’s story to their students to help them better understand about hazing.  I have been corresponding with these schools in hopes that it will help them better understand by telling them what I have learned about hazing since Matt’s death.

Most of you have a child, grandchild, or child of a friend that has recently entered college, plans to go to college next year or in the near future, so it is important that you continue to talk about hazing.

E! Network is working on a 2-hour documentary on hazing, due out in December.  There will be true accounts of actual hazings that have occurred involving our young men and women across the nation.  This is something you may want to sit down and watch with your teenage children that will possibly encounter some of the situations that will be addressed.  Not only can they protect themselves but if they are aware of the signs they may be able to stop someone else from falling victim to hazing as well.

They will be telling true hazing stories – interviewing victims, assailants, families, law officials, medical professionals, hazing experts, etc.  Matt’s story will be one of the stories being told in this documentary.

There is also what looks to be a very good safety book coming out next year, by Tom Kane, called Protect Yourself at College.   This book has true stories and accounts of different incidents that occur to our unsuspecting young people from date rape, drugs, and alcohol to hazing and how to keep if from happening to them.  This would be a great graduation gift and will have lessons our children should learn whether they go off to college or not.  The reason they are more susceptible to these dangers is because they are young and uneducated in these areas not because they are in college.

I hope you are all doing well and using your own life lessons to educate others, as we should all do.

“Hug your children and tell them you love them everyday.”

Debbie, MM

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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