Hazing News

Boston 25 News tackles alcohol issue

Here is the story link and an excerpt.


BOSTON — For some, it is as intrinsic to the college experience as living in a dorm, drinking alcohol. In some cases, lots of alcohol — even so much as to require medical attention.

That kind of drinking went on at UMass-Amherst this past March when an all-day alcohol ingestion event called the Blarney Blowout ended with more than two dozen students needing medical attention. The emergency department at Cooley-Dickinson Hospital in Northampton was reportedly overwhelmed that day with potential alcohol-poisoning cases.

All of the UMass students survived the Blarney Blowout. But, sadly, that has not always been the case on college campuses. In 2013, Anthony Barksdale, an 18-year-old freshman at Boston University, died after heavy drinking during a fraternity event.

“There’s just simply this belief that it happens to somebody else,” said Hank Nuwer, who authored several books on college binge drinking — especially as it relates to hazing.

Nuwer said that while alcohol has a long history on college campuses, drinking seemed to accelerate when the legal age went from 18 to 21 in the United States.

“Right around that time, you can start seeing the hazing increase, the alcohol-related deaths increase,” Nuwer said. “And maybe the simple reason for it is when you prohibit something it either becomes more attractive or it becomes necessary to break that rule, especially when you’re in a group or a fraternity.”

But there have been serious consequences to breaking that rule. The government reports about 22,000 college-age Americans wind up hospitalized each year because of alcohol use — as many as 1,500 die.

Nuwer maintains an online list of fatal hazing incidents in the U.S., going all the way back to 1838. Most of the more recent ones involve heavy ingestion of alcohol.

“(With pledging) the litmus test of manhood is to be able to drink a handle of alcohol — you’re talking about 40 ounces — plus shots of alcohol,” Nuwer said. “So you could have anywhere from 40 to 50 ounces or more that you’re consuming in 20 minutes, maybe an hour.”

Nuwer said that amount of alcohol would prove fatal to some students.

“The problem is that many do survive, and then the expectation is that the next group will survive,” said Nuwer. “This kind of invincible spirit is pervasive on all campuses.”

But invincibility is not guaranteed when it comes to alcohol and, in any case, isn’t apportioned equally — sometimes for the simple reason that young college students may lack drinking experience. Such was the case with Barksdale, according to his family at the time.

“If you’re not used to drinking alcohol, you are very susceptible to alcohol poisoning,” said Antje Barreveld, MD, co-founder of Newton-Wellesley Hospital’s Substance Use Service. “So it doesn’t take as much as it does for someone who already has an inherent tolerance.”

Hazing News

Chico State again cleans problematic houses

Note: The list of consecutive years of deaths is 1959-2021. None in 1958 or 2022 or 2023.

Two Greek organizations at a California state university are under investigation due to hazing allegations after a third was suspended following a hazing probe, school officials said.

The Phi Delta Theta fraternity and the Lambda Sigma Gamma sorority at Chico State are both under investigation for alleged hazing violations, a school spokesperson confirmed to ABC News on Friday.

“Because these investigations are open and active, the University is not able to release further details at this time,” the spokesperson, Andrew Staples, said.

MORE: New Mexico State men’s basketball coach fired after alleged hazing incident on team

The news comes after the university announced earlier this week that its Delta Chi fraternity was ceasing operations following a hazing investigation.

The national office of the Delta Chi Fraternity said it became aware of “hazing and alcohol violations” on March 27. It revoked the charter of the school’s chapter days later following an investigation by Chico State’s Office of Student Conduct, Rights, and Responsibilities that “corroborated allegations of hazing,” the school said.

Hazing News

Shocker. Penn State mulls ending Greek oversight

Yeah, the same institution that promised eternal reforms after the death of Timothy Piazza.

Hazing News

University of Texas brings back Texas Cowboys despite two deaths

Remembering Shawn Cumberland and Gabe Higgins today.