Hazing News

Baylor University allegations from former pledge



Hank Nuwer, who maintains a website that tracks hazing incidents and deaths, said he’s not surprised by the incident at Baylor, given its long history of hazing. Hazing was so common back in the 1930s that Baylor president Pat Morris Neff strictly forbade it. But as recently as 2020, the university suspended 14 baseball players because of a hazing incident. Nuwer said sometimes hazing investigations don’t paint the full picture of how much pledges suffer because older fraternity members lie about what happened.

“If the school can get an admission of hazing, they sometimes stop and don’t keep going, because it is a difficult process,” Nuwer said. “And so sometimes they’re happy to just get that admission.”

When institutions don’t hold students accountable or address hazing on campus, it often makes individuals who report hazing lose trust in the university, which only injures the institution’s reputation, Nuwer said.

Nuwer noted that students who report their fraternity for hazing are often seen as pariahs and end up transferring institutions, just like the Baylor student who reported Pi Kappa Phi.

“Those students now have to live with a relative or rent a place at a new school and start all over again,” Nuwer said. “It’s intimidating enough for a freshman, who’s typically a pledge, to come to a school and then to have this terrible experience. It’s unconscionable.”

The student’s father said he’s not sure what he or his son want from Baylor but that the university had an opportunity to make the situation right, and it didn’t.

“Baylor needs to demonstrate a commitment to holding its students and its student organizations accountable,” the father said. “And I don’t think that their reactions to this event or their response to this incident—where you have a clearly documented case of hazing and their sanctions are very weak—accomplishes that goal. And I don’t think it sends a very strong message to Greek organizations or other organizations engaging in hazing.”


Hazing News

Brutal BGSU sorority hazing and Norwich alleged female sports hazing considered

Here is the link to Inside Higher Education for April 5, 2022


Consequences of Hazing

Drawing on his research, Nuwer suggests “hazing has always been around” at Norwich. He points to violent hazing incidents there in 2008 and a “toxic culture” that’s still in place.

“If you have a culture where manliness and female toughness are going to be rewarded and veterans say, ‘We’ve got a good one,’ hazing is going to flourish,” Nuwer said.

He and others also note the prevalence of alcohol in such incidents. In the most severe hazing cases, particularly those that end in injury or death, alcohol is often a factor.

“The more we can reduce alcohol use, the less likely they are to engage in hazing with alcohol,” Sasso said. “So it won’t stop hazing, but it’ll reduce the alcohol use in the hazing process, which is how most students die or get injured during the hazing process. If you look at all of the hazing cases where there has been a student death, almost all of them involve alcohol in some way.”

Despite increased parental activism, hazing remains a staple of college life, popping up in fraternities and sororities, in athletic teams, and in various other student organizations. Oftentimes, the consequences vary according to state law, meaning there is no standard for punishing hazing.

Some states—such as Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia—have introduced laws to crack down on hazing. But Nuwer notes that universities also have a responsibility to act, just as Bowling Green did in expelling a fraternity and a sorority for hazing. He also pointed to the University of Vermont, which canceled an entire hockey season after its men’s team was caught up in a hazing scandal years ago.

Experts say such consequences, along with continuing education, are important. And as state laws and concerned parents take a stronger stand against hazing, universities are taking notice.

Hazing News

Sam Martinez and his family’s battle against hazing

Here is the link:

And an excerpt: from Station WIRO

House Bill 1751 was approved by both chambers in the state Legislature last week, but is awaiting final passage to resolve an amendment to officially name it “Sam’s Law.” The legislation follows a similar push in the 90s to criminalize college hazing. The more current legislation expands the definition of hazing, requires public and private schools to publicly report incidents of hazing, legally mandates employees of the school to report hazing, and orders that schools provide education to students on the dangers of hazing.

“We really believe that this law is going to save lives … It is shining a light on what has been hidden up until now from new students and from their families in terms of the disciplinary track record in the history of Greek organizations, but also other clubs and student groups and athletic teams,” Jolayne Houtz, Sam’s mother, said.

Documented cases of collegiate hazing date back to the 1830s. John Butler Groves died in a hazing incident in 1838 at Franklin Seminary in Kentucky, according to Hank Nuwer, a journalist who collects all U.S. reported deaths of hazing and compiles the information in a public database.

“Fraternities have proven over and over again that they are not capable of ending hazing on their own,” Houtz continued. “If you look through that [Nuwer’s databse], it’s just picture after picture of mostly young men, some women who have been hazed to death. These people who are 18,19, 20 years old — on the cusp of the rest of their lives, with so much to offer — are stamped out by hazing.”

A second, similar bill would have updated Washington law to treat hazing as a felony charge. That failed to make its way out of committee before the Legislature’s cut-off date, although the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Mari Leavitt, has publicly signaled interest in bringing it back in the next session.

Hazing News

WVU’s hazing culture remains

West Virginia U Suspends Fraternity Over Hazing Allegations

February 9, 2022

West Virginia University announced Monday that it suspended a fraternity for a reported hazing incident in violation of the university’s student conduct code.

The interim suspension of the fraternity, Delta Chi, went into effect immediately and, among other restrictions, bars the fraternity from recruitment activities and attending and organizing social functions, the university said in a press release. The suspension will remain in place as the university investigates the allegations, which could be reviewed for criminal charges outside of the university’s code of conduct. The Office of Student Conduct sent letters to the chapter president and adviser outlining the specific allegations, which do not involve alcohol or controlled substances.

“I join the University’s administration, along with many others in the Center for Fraternal Values and Leadership, who are working to ensure we are acting in accordance with rules established for the safety of all of our chapters and their members, in our profound disappointment,” Matthew Richardson, director of the center and chair of the WVU Hazing Prevention Task Force, said in a statement.