Hazing News

Hank Nuwer on CNN

I kind of knew it was a fun time turning into an anger driven time.


COLLINS: So how could girls or anyone, for that matter, do this to their own classmates?

Hank Nuwer is the author of three books on hazing. The most recent is titled “Broken Pledges.”

He’s joining us now this morning from Indianapolis.

Thanks for being here, sir.


COLLINS: I want to ask you, let’s put in perspective for a moment this incident. We know this has been going on for a long time at this school, but how widespread is this sort of violence?

NUWER: Well, we know that publicly by tracking incidents we can get anywhere from 35 to 50 incidents a year. But that’s sort of a tip of the bucket as to what’s really occurring in numbers. Studies by Alfred University show that among athletes, for example, about 44 to 46 percent will tell you that their hazing started in high school or junior high school.

COLLINS: And we’re kind of used to hearing about it at the college level and between men. But the high school level and between girls, why is that happening? Is this a trend?

NUWER: Well, I think more than a trend. I think we’re seeing societal activities that are shifting and changing. In the ’80s, you rarely heard about cases of hazing incidents or hazing deaths. There were two hazing deaths in sorority reported up to the year 2002. And there were two reported in 2002, and a lot more incidents involving paddling or actually branding by young women and so forth.

I think as women gain parity in the workplace, gain status with men, we have to watch out and be aware as educators that some adverse rituals may be creeping into our initiations.

COLLINS: Hank, we’ve been talking this morning a little bit about the fact that the incident did happen off school property, so we’ll hear, I’m sure, in days to come statements from the school officials about their responsibility.

What about the responsibility of the parents?

NUWER: Well, it’s interesting, in terms of the school first, in that a lot of attorneys tell schools to distance themselves if they have too much of a duty to care, if they get too involved, that they may be responsible.

In terms of the parents, it’s a whole lot of responsibility to work through the PTA, to be aware, to have educational programs that try to head this off. And if parents see their son or daughter heading off in a football shirt with paraphernalia, a pellet gun, for goodness sakes, then they need to step in and halt it. It should have never gotten to this stage.

COLLINS: All right, Hank Nuwer, we certainly appreciate your insight.

NUWER: Thank you.

COLLINS: Author of “Broken Pledges,” coming to us from Indianapolis this morning.




Language: ENGLISH

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. 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. He is married to Malgorzata Wroblewska Nuwer of Warsaw, Poland and Fairbanks, Alaska. Nuwer, former columnist for the Greenville (Ohio)Early Bird, finished a stint as managing editor of the Celina Daily Standard to accept a new position as 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--

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