Hazing News

Hazing by the Numbers: 1838-2012 by Hank Nuwer

Here is a breakdown on hazing incidents–Moderator Hank Nuwer

First 100 years: 1838-1938

Total Deaths: 26


Alcohol-related 0

Abandoned in country 1

Drowned 2

Details unknown, mysterious circumstances, perhaps a coverup 3

Vehicle Accident 2

Blindfolded and killed in accident 1

Post-hazing fatal illness 6

Non-affiliated bystander killed  1

Electrocuted 1

Heart Failure 1

Beaten or crushed 5

Throat slit by broken bottle 1

Revenge or self-defense killing during a hazing 1

Longest Period without a hazing death prior to 1939: 1847 death (none in 1848) to 1872 (death in 1873)

1940 – 2012

PRIMARY CAUSE of death listed below. In many cases it is unknown if alcohol had been a factor. Where known, I have indicated same. First alcohol-related hazing death: 1940 (more than 100 years since hazing death). Seventy of 137 deaths by hazing had alcohol as a contributing factor; in the other 67 alcohol either was unreported or not involved.

40 Primarily an alcohol overdose:

1 Scavenger hunt

1 Buried alive

1 Burned to death

2 Water torture (heavy alcohol use reported in both pledge periods)

11 Falls  (nine had alcohol as factor)

6 beatings

10 killed during dropoffs (alcohol factor in four deaths)

2 stabbings

15 drownings (nine had alcohol as known factor)

3 post-hazing illnesses

2 choked to death on forced food substances

3 suicides post-hazing

24 auto accidents (5 with alcohol known to be a factor; alcohol in fatalities wasn’t reported as much in earlier years)

10 heat stroke or heart failure related to unusual exertion

3 shot

1 misfired cannon during an otherwise benign initiation

1 electrocution

1 unknown cause (coroner could not determine cause of death)





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 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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