U.S. Hazing Deaths Database Part 1: 1838-1999

Welcome to Part 1, Hazing Deaths Database by Hank Nuwer

Hank Nuwer contact,  bio:

My research has found one or more deaths a year occurred in U.S. each year from 1959 to 2021. No deaths in the U.S. were declared from hazing Beginning Jan. 1, 2022 through 2024. HN

Scholars: Visit and contribute your work to the Hank Nuwer hazing archives page at Buffalo State University (SUNY Hank Nuwer Hazing Research Collection): at https://library.buffalostate.edu/archives/nuwer

Last update June 12, 2024  

Welcome to Part 1, Hazing Deaths Database by Hank Nuwer

Disclosure: Schools and fraternities have not always admitted that clear cases of hazing are, in fact, “hazing.” In a few cases, there have been coverups. Therefore, the database includes deaths that appear to meet the consensus definition of criminal hazing, accidents while carrying out pledging or pledges being “encouraged” to drink, and suicides where parents believe hazing may have been a contributing factor. Many state laws take the position that hazing is considered hazing regardless of an individual’s willingness to participate.

1) 1838

Franklin Seminary (Kentucky)

Class Hazing

John Butler Groves died in a hazing incident, according to a family history. The school’s records were destroyed in an unrelated fire. This is the information I was able to come up with using public grave and ancestry searches–Moderator Hank Nuwer.

A John B. Groves is listed as born October 31. 1819 in Simpson County, Kentucky. His death date is listed as August 7, 1838 in Franklin, Kentucky, Simpson County. He is listed as being buried in Groves Cemetery (likely a plot on family land).

The information was first reported in Hank Nuwer’s “Broken Pledges” (Longstreet Press, 1990). From a letter from a Groves descendent to Eileen Stevens, Committee to Halt Useless College Killings, that she let me read in 1989. The female letter writer (name withheld) wrote that John’s grieving family never sent another child to a similar school.

Using newspaper sources, I found a possible family member in Michael Groves who was born in the 1790s and died around or in December 1885 (The Big Sandy News; Louisa, KY, December 31, 1885). I do not know if they were related. Simpson County itself was carved out of other counties. The town of Franklin was located on a railroad line (making it appealing for parents to send children to such a seminary during the nineteenth century). Hazing at male and even female seminaries was common and even celebrated in printed school “customs books” that celebrated “traditions.”

. Link to Franklin, Simpson County, Kentucky (in 1874 listing for one male seminary, one female seminary, six churches of various denominations). I found a seminary mentioned in the Laws of Kentucky for sale of the seminary land and building. HN

Know something more about John Butler Groves? Write the moderator.

2) 1847

Amherst College (Massachusetts)

Class Hazing

President Hitchcock, below, was one of the first USA college presidents to express opposition to hazing.

Jonathan D. Torrance died of illness following a drenching with iced water during a hazing custom called “freshman visitation,” according to then-President Edward Hitchcock of Amherst. The death is included in Nuwer’s Wrongs of Passage. See also article  from Berkshire Eagle dated Nov. 5, 1863 clipping_15952902


3) 1873 Cornell University (New York)

Kappa Alpha Society

Walkabout without torches in gorge country

Mortimer N. Leggett died in a fall into a steep gorge while on a walk in the dark required by fraternity members. Family claims that Leggett was blindfolded were disputed by the chapter in spite of admission by the perpetrators during a coroner’s inquiry. Leggett’s death is chronicled in an in-depth investigative feature in Hank Nuwer’s 2018 book “Hazing: Destroying Young Lives” (Indiana University Press). The first two Greek hazing deaths on record in the USA were Cornell KAS chapters (recently made dormant at that campus) in 1873 and 1899. Here is the video account of “Young Mort’s” death.

Gen. Leggett buried his namesake who was the first male to die pledging a fraternity. His son’s choice of chapter was the Kappa Alpha Society at Cornell.

(Photo) The Charles W. Wason Collection at Cornell University was founded by the young hazer (Wason) who fell to earth with Mortimer Leggett.

4) 1884

United States Naval Academy, Annapolis

Allegations of physical hazing

Final cause was alleged to be aggravated hernia.

Newspapers prior to 1900 contained numerous references to hazing practices at Annapolis such as jamming a newcomer into a barrel and pushing while inside for great distances. The older cadets also tossed newcomers into the air on blankets. These were often done off-campus as soon as newcomer arrived in the area. Frederick Schwatka Strang was the subject of nationwide claims that his death of hernia complications was hazing-related.

Note:  (See #23 under disputed hazing deaths). 1885.  I have removed a Hazleton, Pennsylvania school hazing  in a gauntlet. I can confirm as a severe injury that made a boy “dangerously ill,” but almost certainly this was not a death.  (Wikipedia on Feb. 13, 223 still lists this incorrectly as a definite hazing death of “Edward Turnbach” as a result of inaccurate news coverage in 1885.) 

5) 1892

Yale University (Connecticut)

Delta Kappa Epsilon

A blindfolded student named Wilkins Ruskin was killed in an accident in an initiation incident condemned then as outdated “criminal recklessness” by the national fraternity, according to a published article by Fred Kershner (now deceased), formerly of Columbia Teachers College and a fraternity member.

Pittsburgh Press, June 7, 1892

6) 1894

Cornell University (New York)

Bystander death (deadly prank during class hazing)

A non-Cornell bystander accidentally died during a class prank involving deliberate use of chlorine gas. The death of Mrs. Henrietta Jackson is chronicled in an in-depth investigative feature in Hank Nuwer’s 2018 book “Hazing: Destroying Young Lives” (Indiana University Press).

7) 1898

Decatur High School, Illinois

High School Physical Hazing

According to the Logansport Pharos-Tribune, freshman David C. Jones was one of several boys thrown over a fence. A battle royal ensued. Jones died a few days later of a spinal injury.

8) 1899

Cornell University (New York)

Kappa Alpha Society (Now “dormant” Chapter)

Pledge Edward F. Berkeley drowned while completing a pledging errand. The death is described in the book Hazing edited by Hank Nuwer (2018). The 1899 death was by the same Cornell chapter and almost the exact ritual that killed Mortimer Leggett in 1873. While the father of Leggett forgave the hazers and even accepted KAS membership in his son’s memory, Berkeley’s father was bitter and unforgiving. Because Berkeley’s wife was in very poor health, the news was kept from her for quite some time. Like Leggett, courts at the time almost always considered only harsh physical hazing to actually BE hazing. Thus, the Leggett and Berkeley deaths were written off as unfortunate accidents. Cornell Kappa Society lost two pledges and hazers were judged blameless.

9) 1899

Lawrenceville, New Jersey High School

Hazing (a form of physical hazing known locally as piling)

Martin V. Bergen, son of Councilman Peter V. Bergen, of this place, died  from injuries received at a hazing at Lawrenceville. He died of inflammation of the bowels. Young Bergen was twelve years old and a freshman at Lawrenceville. He was being put through the initiation when one of the hazers accidentally fell upon him. [Source: Columbus Daily Enquirer, November 23, 1899]; Harrisburg Telegraph, November 23, 1899].  View a clipping here

10) 1900

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Class Scrap with president present

Hugh C. Moore died following a snapped neck in a traditional fight between first- and second-year students. Click here for a very defensive student version of the death and a photo of Hugh Chadwick Moore.

See also Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, November 16, 1900.

Henry Pritchett

Read the remarks by President Henry Pritchett. He acknowledges being present at the sport where Moore died. “…No one is responsible and which no one could foresee” were his banal comments to console the student body after Mr. Moore’s death. A second student was also injured after being roughed up. However, to his credit, he ended the brutal “Cane Rush,” a type of class warfare.–Moderator Hank Nuwer


Order The Hazing Reader by Hank Nuwer


11) 1900

United States Military Academy (New York)


Although the death of plebe Oscar Booz was considered illness-caused by a committee of inquiry, members of the U.S. House of Representatives on the committee determined that he also had been hazed maliciously by upperclassmen. He most certainly had been singled out for abuse, including forced to chug pure tabasco sauce. See “Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing” for a complete description of the abuse. Future general Douglas MacArthur was also savagely hazed.

12) 1900

Charleston, S. C

Porter Military Academy (South Carolina)

Accident during hazing.

No punishment despite death. “Charleston, S. C, Nov. 5. Thomas Finley Brown, 12, Is dead from injuries received while being hazed at tho Porter military academy last Monday. Brown was now at the academy and the older boys, following their former custom, dropped him Into a cemented swimming basin 12 feet deep. The basin was dry at the time and tho lad received internal injuries from the fall. Before he died he did not give the names of the cadets who had mistreated him, and It Is said no action will be taken In the matter. Source: Evening Bulletin, Maysville, Kentucky”

[Above: The Blaine [Kansas] News, November 9, 1900


http://www.iupress.indiana.edu/product_info.php?products_id=809120 Order “Hazing” from Indiana University Press


13) 1903

University of Maryland, Baltimore campus

Phi Psi Chi

Inadequate forensic techniques of the day were unable to provide an exact cause of death other than “congestion of the lungs” for Martin Loew following a hazing by fellow students of the local dental fraternity that left Loew’s body bruised.  Newspaper account link

14) 1903

Bluffton High School (Indiana)

Secret Society

Ten young men went on trial following the death of “L of S.S.B” recruit Ralph McBride. While McBride was hazed, his death of sepsis occurred five months later. A criminal trial failed to show the death definitely was linked to McBride’s hazing, according to the Indianapolis Journal of December 27, 1903.

15) 1903

Barton, Vermont

Bullying and Torture

Three preteen males decided to pick on 9 year-old Ralph Canning by having him perform mock hazing acts such as sitting and standing on heated rocks. They then physically attacked and tortured him. Canning died of his injuries. The three were Alva Day, 11; Raymond Adams, 10; Raymond Waterman, 9. The boys told police they were trying to haze like college men.

16) 1904

Rawson School (Findlay, Ohio)

Alleged Schoolboy hazing

I have confirmed that Freddie Fillwock died. A newspaper account reported that he suffered multiple injuries as a result of striking his head and subsequent piling on during an initiation. –Moderator. See online The Leavenworth Times, “Hazing Results in Death,” April 6, 1904. Headstone link.

17) 1905

Kenyon College (Ohio)

Delta Kappa Epsilon

Accidental Death Following a Hazing

Stuart L. Pierson was struck by a train after fraternity brothers left him on a bridge in an incident called “a mystery death” by Kenyon historian George Franklin Smythe.

Stuart Pierson

18) 1905

High School Hazing (Lima, Ohio)

Death following an initiation

William Taylor, 13, died of pneumonia following an episode where he was rough-housed outdoors in winter by older students.


Note: UNDER FURTHER  REVIEW: NOT INCLUDED: UNDER INVESTIGATION. Death of James Branch. 1905. Thus far, it appears Branch was killed in a fight with a fellow cadet, not a hazing-related death. –HN Feb. 13, 2023.  Hazing certainly was frequent then, however.


19) 1906

Stanford University (Palo Alto, California)

Class Hazing

Caroline Miller, mother of student William Miller, alleged that her son’s death after a series of colds was caused by his immersion in water. This was called “tubbing” at the time. Source here 

From the above source, an excerpt: “The introduction of hall monitors did little to diminish hazing, which persisted even after the 1906 earthquake brought a sobering sense of propriety to the campus. That spring, freshman William Miller left school three weeks early because of a severe illness, and by June he was dead. He had been subjected to several episodes of tubbing, resulting in a series of colds, which his mother claimed contributed to his death by weakening his constitution. In a letter to President Jordan, Caroline Miller asked that tubbing be banned  “and perhaps save other mothers the heartbreak that is my portion.'”

20) 1906

Hilliard High School (Columbus, Ohio)

Class Hazing

The New York Times reported that representatives of the family of Cecil F. Leat sued for $10,000 damages after he was beaten to death in a hazing. NYT Jan. 30, 1906

___________________________________________________________21) 1906

Culver Military Academy (Indiana)

Disputed death, hazing or illness?

A father claimed death of his son Edward Beery was caused by hazing. Although 13 members of the class were expelled, the school said it would never cover up and that the direct cause of death was tonsillitis.

22) 1908

WPI (Worcester Polytechnic Institute) Massachusetts

Freshman-sophomore class hazing

Pittsburgh Post Gazette, September 29, 1908 “…A rush which took place on the evening of September 22, 1908, on the common, resulted in the death of Emil S. (Ernie)  Grau [correct name is Gran], of Wareham, a member of the Class of 1911.  [Gran] was caught under a struggling mass of students and suffered a fracture of the spine.  He died Sunday, September 27th, and was buried in Wareham the following Wednesday, the entire class attending the funeral, together with representatives of other classes and of the faculty.  As a result of this sad accident class rushes were given up and during the past years, the students by their own action, have abolished hazing.” In the 1911 yearbook there is a page dedicated to this student, with his photograph.  His name there is written as Emil S. Gran and it says he died September 28, 1908.  (However, the custom was started again soon after but called another name).

A WPI yearbook entry above

23) 1909

White School (West Point, Indiana)

Hazing and retaliation (death from illness perhaps connected with abuse)

After some bullies and hazers were reported, or thought to have been reported by Charles Stinson to a teacher who whipped them, the 11-year-old was hung upside down and left a long time to dangle. He died after his attackers came back. according to the Plymouth (IN) Tribune, March 25, 1909. The same article was reprinted in many USA newspapers.

What is known: Stinson’s cause of death on his death certificate is listed as “spinal meningitis.”

1900 Census records list then two-year-old Charles as the son of William M. Stinson and Effie Stinson.

24) 1912

University of North Carolina

Class hazing


Isaac Rand, death certificate and other research

Freshman Isaac Rand bled to death following a stunt in which his throat was accidentally sliced by a broken bottle after he was made to dance on a barrel. Ralph W. Oldham, William L. Merriam, and Aubrey Hatch were found guilty of manslaughter. Originally sentenced to jail for work release, they eventually instead agreed to house arrest.

25)  1913

Purdue University (Indiana)

Class hazing

Frances Obenchain

Francis W. Obenchain died while participating in an annual scrap pitting first-year students against upperclass students. Newspaper accounts of the day and an official Purdue history have differing deductions for the death’s physical cause that occurred during the chaotic traditional battle under a water tank. A recent article for Traces Magazine (Indiana Historical Society) charged that there is evidence of a coverup back in 1913 as to the precise cause of Obenchain’s death. The entire story is told by a Purdue librarian in Hank Nuwer’s “Hazing: Destroying Young Lives” (1918).

26) 1914

St. John’s Military College (Maryland)

Class Hazing

In a switch, hazer William R. Bowlus was shot and killed while hazing a first-year student. 

27) 1915

Virginia Military Institute

“Rat” Hazing

Military school hazing

Thurber Sweet, 17, died of serious injuries he claimed, before his death, had been caused by beatings with bayonets by older cadets. VMI superintendent E. W. Nichols denied hazing could have been a factor. The case was widely covered nationwide by newspapers.

28) 1915

University of Kentucky

Class Hazing-Related Accident

Freshman Eldridge Scott Griffith was accidentally killed during a celebration over his class’s victory in a traditional class contest. Four others were injured.

Eldridge Scott Griffith

The freshman was hit by a trolley while racing through the streets with a rope in hand,  Griffith was 18.

29) 1915 or 1916

New Mexico Military Institute

Class hazing

The family of Ludwig Von Gerichten Jr. blamed his illness-related death on hazing after he was dunked in a horse tank and abandoned in the country, according to a family history. I am trying to determine if he is the young man from Franklin, Ohio, with this name, who was killed. More info needed when I can spend time on this death.

30) 1916

Morningside College (Iowa)

Freshman hazing: Physical hazing

New student Paul N. Blue died as a result of extreme physical hazing and perhaps a pre-existing health condition, according to two newspaper sources provided by Wikipedia. Newspaper sources I checked said an inquiry found that diabetes was a contributing factor.

31)  1916

University of Pennsylvania

Freshman-Sophomore battle royal

Suffocation during school-approved annual “Bowl” brawl

First-year student William Lifson smothered in a pileup in an annual matchup for a bowl awarded the winning class. Provost Smith, incredibly, said that Lifson died “in honor, with his hand on the bowl.” This is yet another example of how hazing was tolerated, perhaps condoned, at a North American college.Source The Republic of Columbus, Indana, dated February 18, 1916.

32) 1917

College of the City of New York

Phi Sigma Kappa

William Ashcom Bullock died of spinal meningitis, and his mother attributed the cause to hazing because members rolled the already ill Bullock on the ground in a wet blanket.

33) 1919

Colgate University (New York)

Class hazing

Freshman Frank McCullough drowned when he tried swimming to shore after sophomores dumped and abandoned him on an island. Here is a link to the school’s “traditions.”


34) 1921

Northwestern University (Illinois)

Cause of Death Unknown following a Class Hazing

Leighton Mount disappeared after a traditional class rush, and his body was found beneath a pier two years later. His demise is a mystery. What is not a mystery is how Northwestern’s then president jumped on the theory of suicide in an attempt to protect his school’s reputation.

35) 1922

Hamilton College (New York)

Class Hazing (referred to as horseplay)

William Duncan Saunders

William Duncan Saunders, 15, died of a skull fracture and ruptured aorta when he was roughly flung from a bed during an incident variously described as horseplay unrelated to hazing and hazing. He was a member of Alpha Delta Phi fraternity, but his chapter was not implicated in his demise.

36) 1923

University of Alabama

Sigma Nu

Illness following Initiation

Glenn Kersh, who had a faulty heart, died “from psychic effects of excitement” following his fraternal initiation, according to the coroner’s report.

37) 1923

Franklin and Marshall College (Pennsylvania)

Class Hazing

Sophomore Ainsworth Brown died while injured in a scrap between classes.

38) 1923

Northwestern University (Illinois)

Class Hazing

Louis Aubere was accidentally killed by a passing car while on the running board of a car as he searched for fellow freshmen abducted by sophomores, according to a letter written by Northwestern archivist Patrick Quinn addressed to researcher Mike Moskos. Here is a clipping at the time:

39) 1923

New Salem, Indiana

High School Hazing-related Suicide (more likely to be called bullying in our own time–HN)

The parents of Vernon. A. Walker, 16, blamed his suicide by gunshot over a depression that enveloped him due to New salem School hazing. Rush County Superintendent Birney Farthing and Principal Grant Cooper challenged the theory that hazing caused Walker to take his life.

40) 1924

Hartford City, Indiana

High School Hazing

Death of a bystander

Raymond Morris, 18, tried to intervene when a mob of hazers picked on his little brother, Benjamin, 14.  Hazer William Duff, 17, challenged Raymond to fight. “Look put, I’m going to paste you a good one,” Raymond said, according to witnesses.  He fell unconscious and was rushed to a hospital where he died. The coroner ruled Raymond died from a cerebral hemorrhage through accidental means.

41) 1925

University of Utah

Freshman class hazing: Immersion in water

Newcomer Reginald Stringfellow’s death was believed to have been caused by prolonged duckings in tubs of water by upperclassmen. Utah finally outlawed the practice after his death, according to the Ogden Standard-Examiner (January 10, 1925).

42) 1928

University of Texas

Delta Kappa Epsilon Hazing


“Nolt” is a typo for “Nolte” in the news clipping above.

Pledge Nolte McElroy, an athlete, died from the electric shock when he had to crawl through mattresses charged with electric current. The school response was to be expected. “It simply was a terrible accident that could not have been foreseen,”  Texas Dean V. L. Moore told a reporter.

43) 1929

Indiana University

Delta Chi

Illness post Hazing

George Steinmetz Jr.

Orsa George Steinmetz Jr., 19, died from lung disease after being physically hazed. The death was blamed by his mother on hazing, but cited as illness-related (coroner ruled death cased by pulmonary tb) by university then-administrators who nonetheless strongly condemned all acts of hazing. His mother became the first known parent of a hazing victim to become an activist. George’s brother corresponded with me during my research for “Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing.”

44) 1929

Flint, Michigan

Boyhood hazing (likely bullying in today’s language)

Blood poisoning due to injury Merrill A. Putnam, 8, died after older boys repeatedly slammed him to the ground in a prank they called the “Royal Bumps.”

45) 1931

Stout Institute (Wisconsin)

Class hazing: Physical contact; hazing horseplay


First-year student Lloyd Neuman Aune of Baldwin, Wisconsin, died a painful death after his spinal cord was severed in a wrestling tussle. According to the Milwaukee Journal (September 18, 1931) Clifford Tweed admitted to being one of those grappling with Aune but denied knowing how the young man suffered a serious spine injury. The Journal noted that the student body voted to end all hazing.

46) 1934

Oregon State University

Lambda Chi Alpha

Shooting death

Paul Kutch was shot in the head in a so-called act of horseplay while dueling with revolvers thought to be unloaded.

47) 1935

Dickinson College (Pennsylvania)

Phi Delta Theta Fraternity hazing

Physical contact

Phi Delt pledge Richard Wendell Beitzel was somehow severely injured in a fall and cut his leg on a tree stump, dying later of blood poisoning (nephritis). The Reading Eagle (April 19, 1935) said the college president banned all hazing as a result of the death. See especially Altoona Tribune, April 12, 1935.

48) 1936 Death (Injury incurred in 1934)

Miami-Dade High School

Iota Phi fraternity Physical hazing

According to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune (February 25, 1936), sophomore Taylor Lewis succumbed of injuries incurred two years earlier in a hazing initiation. The school ordered an end to all fraternities and sororities.

49) 1936

Mississippi State University (then Mississippi State College)

Future Farmers of America (FFA) Drowning

Willie B. Barkley, an athlete recovering from a severe influenza attack, perished after being tossed by agricultural students into a pond.

50) 1937

Unspecified Modesto high school

Hazing (kidnapping or ride)

A car carrying two kidnapped high school pledges hit a rut and overturned. Robert James, 15, died, and Ted Hanky, 15, was injured. Source: Bakersfield Californian, January 16, 1937.

51) 1940

University of Missouri

Theta Nu Epsilon/Kappa Sigma

Alcohol-related hazing; Pledge at subrosa chapter found deceased at Kappa Sigma house

Hubert L. (Hugo) Spake Jr. died by smothering following a drinking session mandated by a fraternity chapter unrecognized by the university. He likely was the first of many fraternity pledges or members to die from alcohol intoxication during an initiation, according to Hank Nuwer’s historical research. Ironically, Spake already was a brother of Kappa Sigma fraternity and returned to the Kappa Sigma house where he was discovered by two pledges on “wakeup” chores. See El Paso Times, March 11, 1940.  See also the NY Daily News for investigation of Theta Nu Epsilon, dated March 31, 1940.

Hubert L. Spake, Jr., first to die of alcohol overdose during hazing

PS: added June 2, 2017 It was not uncommon even 100-110 years ago or more for undergraduates at sundry colleges to appropriate the fraternal name of a national without permission, and then to besmirch that national’s name with loud and boorish or dangerous behavior. A prime example of this was a onetime national sophomore society called Theta Nu Epsilon.   That organization had subrosa, unregulated, unauthorized chapters all over the country. Since it was a sophomore society, its members often or usually had additional membership in authorized nationals.  So it was in March, 1940. that Hubert L. Spake, Jr, died in his sleep after an alcohol-fueled initiation for an unauthorized Theta Nu Epsilon chapter at the University of Missouri Kappa Sigma house.  The Missouri Dean Albert Heckel shut down the unauthorized chapter after Spake choked to death on his own vomit.  Prior to the death, the illicit chapter operated as a freewheeling chapter at Mizzou.

52) 1941

Highmore High School (S. D.)

Athletic hazing, Lettermen’s Club:

Hazing by electrocution

Gerald De Gooyer, 20, a multi-sport athlete was killed by an initiation requiring him to sustain an electric shock.  The  coach  and  an  administrator  approved  the  initiation  and  lost  a civil  lawsuit.

53) 1941

Berkeley High School

Eunoia Club

Auto crash as upperclassmen chased newcomers

About 30 members were involved in a hazing of a high school club that seems to have all or most members situated

in California high schools. One carload of boys flipped and went off an embankment. James Ristenpart died. Three were injured.

54) 1943

High school hazing and St. Norbert’s College (Wisconsin)

High school hazing with college students present: Death from nephritis (but disputed by D.A.)

Wayne Rogers, assaulted by at least seven older students, died on his first day in a senior high school. He succumbed after his parents asserted the hazers had taken “indecent liberties” with him. The attending physician ruled he died of nephritis caused by a blow but District Attorney Elmer R. Honkamp dismissed any connection between Rogers’s death and hazing. Wayne’s parents expressed outrage.

55) 1945

St. Louis University (Missouri)

Phi Beta Pi

Fatal Accident During Hazing

Robert G. Perry was turned into a human torch and died after members coated his naked body with flammable substances and applied an electric shock to his skin.

56)  1948

Montana State University

Les Bouffons (The Clowns) Secret Society (local chapter)

Shooting by security guard during prank

War veteran James Peterson, a married father, was shot in the chest as he and 11 initiates of the local society attempted to break into a heating-plant building to set off a whistle as part of their initiation celebration. Peterson, 26, survived 38 air combat missions during World War Two, according to the Ogden Standard Examiner (April 5, 1948). Illustration below by San Francisco Examiner.

57) 1949

Brown University (Rhode Island)

Fraternity Rush Night (including Delta Phi)

While on a tour of a fraternity house intended as a rush event to introduce pledges to different fraternal chapters, Hale Thompson Gehl, 19, fell down a set of stairs and died two days later.  The night of the rush party a big brawl involved Beta Theta Phi and Delta Phi.

58) 1950

University of California, Berkeley

Sigma Pi Death Following Hazing Dropoff

Pledge Gerald Loren. Foletta died when hit by an automobile after members dropped him off in the countryside. San Francisco Examiner, October 11, 1950.

59) 1950

Wittenberg University (Ohio)

Alpha Tau Omega Death Following Hazing Dropoff

Pledge Dean J. Niswonger was hit by a car as he slept on a highway after being dropped off from campus. ATO pledge Jerry Wendell escaped death but suffered a fractured arm. The driver of the semi who hit the boy was exonerated. The chapter was back pledging in one year. A coroner ruled the death accidental. They two had been blindfolded and sleep deprived. ATO member David E, Farley left school and enrolled at Midland College in Nebraska where he pledged KAI Fraternity. Col. William R. Dayton was a distinguished alum years before the accident. Keith Amundsen was a member of the chapter at the time of death.

The Niswonger case went to the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit – 221 F.2d 350 (6th Cir. 1955); April 21, 1955. SEE BELOW:

Horace W. Baggott, Dayton, Ohio, Waldo E. Young, Eaton, Ohio, for appellant.

Rowan A. Greer, Jr., Dayton, Ohio (Warren A. Ferguson, Landis, Ferguson, Bieser & Greer, Dayton, Ohio, on the brief), for appellee.

Before MARTIN, McALLISTER and MILLER, Circuit Judges.


The appeal in this case is by the Administratrix of the twenty-year-old decedent who was killed by being run over by a truck of the appellee on a public highway near Springfield, Ohio.

The decedent and other “pledges” were being hazed prior to initiation by a Greek Letter Fraternity and, beginning on Sunday, April 30, 1950, were required to go through calisthenics late at night, to do housework, painting, scrubbing and other chores until about six o’clock in the morning when, after being permitted to rest for only an hour, they had to go to classes at eight o’clock and for the remainder of the school day. Following the day’s class room work, they returned to the Fraternity House and were required to study until eleven o’clock in the evening before beginning the calisthenics and work again. The same routine was followed each day until Wednesday, May 3. After their calisthenics on that date, the decedent and a companion “pledge” were blind-folded, placed on the back seat of an automobile and driven out into the country. Their blind-folds were then removed and they were put out of the automobile and instructed to find their way back to Springfield.

The two young men walked around the countryside for sometime until they came to a state highway. They attempted unsuccessfully to get a ride and then stopped to rest on the side of the road; and, becoming uncomfortable there, they sat upon the paved portion of the highway. They were so exhausted that they fell asleep on the paved road where decedent was killed.

The main argument of appellant is that the driver of appellee’s truck had a “last clear chance,” by the exercise of due care, to avoid the fatal accident. The truck driver testified that, immediately, when he recognized that an object on the road might be a human being, he put on his brakes full force and almost went off the roadside in an effort to avoid running over the decedent.

In directing a verdict for the defendant, Judge Cecil explained to the jury that, after a person places himself in a position of peril by his own negligence and that his “negligence then ceases,” the defendant is required to use ordinary care to avoid injury at the time he “discovers the person in the condition of peril.” The judge told the jury further that the terrible ordeal which the two boys had endured immediately before the accident, deplorable as it was, could place no greater duty upon appellee or its truck driver and make it, or its driver, responsible for the conduct of the boys and for “what happened before.”

In our judgment, the district judge properly granted the motion of appellee for directed verdict, for the reasons stated in the judge’s address to the jury. We find no reversible error in the assignments made by appellant respecting the exclusion of evidence proffered by her, or in any procedural matter connected with the trial.

The judgment of the district court is ordered affirmed.

60) 1951

Northwestern State College (Louisiana)

Class Hazing prank played on freshman

Cruel prank resulting in drowning death Freshman Allen Kaplan, 18, of Massachusetts, was duped by upperclassmen into meeting a woman on a bluff used as a Lover’s Lane. One perpetrator pretended to be a furious husband and fired a shotgun blast that sent a panicked Kaplan running, according to the Monroe Morning World. Kaplan’s father forgave the pranksters after his son’s submerged body was removed from the nearby Red River.

61, 62) 1951

University of Miami

Lambda Chi Alpha Kidnaping and car drop-off 30 miles from campus

Exhausted pledges Thomas Kleppner was killed and Fred E. Evens was critically injured after an oncoming driver failed to spot them sleeping at roadside in Homestead, Florida, according to The Daily Republican (May 31, 1951).

Evens died following the accident on May 31. The Miami yearbook lists the following Lambda Chi Alpha officers: Larry Sena, President, Dave Bowers, Vice President, Gene Frieda, Secretary, Pete Wheeler, Treasurer, ,lack Buhlen, Social Chairman Richard Bailey, Ritualist Tom Arnno, Rush Chairman. The driver was E. J. Pacetti. Pledge James J. Moser survived. Source: Long Branch Daily Record, May 26, 1951.

Note: Fred Evens in 1951 clippings is occasionally misspelled as “Evans”–Moderator, June 27, 2021 update. 

1952: No confirmed deaths. Regarding 1952 and hazing, Univ. of North Carolina Sigma Chi pledge Charles W. Hill was on a “partying” road trip off campus. Hill was killed (two other pledges unhurt, one brother injured) when the car he was in missed a stop sign and collided with a lumber truck. Pledges were routinely served alcohol, according to a newspaper of the day, but the drinking age was 18, and it would be many years before alcohol routinely was looked at in hazing cases. Hazing WAS a hotbed topic at UNC in the spring of 1952, and the UNC IFC was accused of covering up hazing incidents. There was one near-death in question by another chapter.

However, barring new information, 1952 remains a year without a confirmed death.  –Hank Nuwer Posted Dec. 5, 2021.

63) 1953

Milligan College (Tennessee)

Freshman class hazing:  Required “games” of first-year students

Calvin Dougherty, 17, a highly regarded basketball player from Johnson County, Indiana, died from the after-effects of internal injuries suffered when he slammed into a cable during a race mandated by upperclass students. A newspaper in Franklin, Indiana, followed his recovery, setback, and death in detail. He attended church services in Rocklane, Indiana, and a pastor accompanied the father to attend to his son at a hospital bedside.

Page 84, 1954 Edition, Milligan College - Buffalo Yearbook (Elizabethton, TN) online yearbook collection

64) 1954

Swarthmore College (Swarthmore, Pennsylvania)

Delta Upsilon

Death during Hazing Dropoff

Peter Mertz was killed by a passing car after members abandoned him in the country. He was a football player.  Here is a photo of Peter.

Peter’s bereaved mother was Esther Mertz.

65) 1955

Swarthmore College

Classmate Hazing and/or bullying Revenge shooting

Victim: Francis Holmes Strozier (above)

The Greenville headline said it all: “Ministerial student mad over being hazed,kills.” In what could have been a campus bloodbath, Robert Bechtel, 22, of Pottstown, Pennsylvania, shot one of the hazers tormenting him. Bechtel, mocked for his dark, longish hair, went home and returned to campus with a revolver, .22 rifle, and 134 bullets, according to The Greenville News. 

Bechtel, a student aiming to become a Unitarian minister, went to Wharton Hall, a residence hall, and ambushed tormentor Francis Holmes Strozier, a sophomore from Akron, Ohio. He shot him by the light of his flashlight with the rifle. “I had a rage against them,” Bechtel told police. “I felt they were persecuting me.” Bechtel raced about Wharton Hall as if berserk and fired several more shots until other Strozier’s roommate, Robert Witt, 19, subdued  him.

Bechtel, a hall proctor who knew where his tormentors lived, tried to get into several locked rooms without success. Although newspapers widely characterized the death as bullying, the pranks themselves were more akin in today’s terms as a type of bullying. In a classic case of hidden harm, the tormentors had picked on Bechtel who came to Swarthmore after being discharged from the U.S. Air Force with a nervous breakdown. Bechtel was ruled insane and shipped to a mental hospital.

66, 67) 1955

New Philadelphia, Ohio

Boy Scouts of America Auto accident during blindfolded initiation march

The Ashbury (N.J. Park Press reported that two of ten boys were killed on a darkened road as they marched with older Explorers to celebrate their initiation as First-Class Scouts. The dead were identified as Michael Andreas and Charles Fawcett. A third youth was injured. The driver was Allen Rupp.

68) 1956

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Delta Kappa Epsilon Death Following Hazing Dropoff

Disoriented pledge Thomas Clark drowned in a reservoir after members dropped him off in countryside unknown by him.

69, 70) 1956

Rice Institute

Freshman class death

Accident while students participated in a dangerous frosh orientation stunt

A regrettable “tradition” of the era was for students to hang a tire and defend it against interlopers who tried to steal it as part of the “fun.”. The tire was hung high in the air atop a bell tower connected to a smokestack. Unfortunately, Karl B. Bailey was overcome by carbon monoxide and suffocated. His friend Cecil William Carrol climbed the smokestack to aid him, lost his balance, and also perished.

71)  1957

University of California, Santa Barbara

Delta Tau Delta Death

During “Pinning” Pseudo-initiation Max Caulk, 22, drowned in a harbor following a silly initiation practiced by members after fellow members got pinned or engaged to a sorority woman.

Max Caulk

72) 1957

A high school educator who participated in a “harmless” supervised initiation intended to frighten first-year students for laughs died accidentally while pretending to hang. The victim in the tragic, unfortunate death was W.H. Sallee of Utica High School (Kansas).  Source: many, including Warren Times Mirror (Pa.),  Sept. 18, 1957.

Educator dies during class day initiation

73, 74) 1957

St. Joseph’s Hospital, Lexington, Ky.

Nurse hazing as prank

Burned to death during “prank” on student nurses

Two student nurses, one smoking a cigarette, burned to death after ether was tossed on them as a prank. The deceased killed by the registered nurses were Charlotte Smith and Kathleen Oehler. The act was certainly one of negligence but not in any way intended to be malicious. The ether was supposed to create a temporary feeling of numbness. The two perpetrators were severely burned beating out the flames. Source: Indiana (PA.) Evening Gazette, January 25, 1957.

1958: No deaths reported. 

75) 1959

University of Southern California

Kappa Sigma

Physical hazing (eating ritual)

Pledge Richard Terrell Swanson choked to death while trying to swallow a slab of liver at the request of members. Parents settled for $35,000. His last words: “I’m going to swallow this liver if it’s the last thing I do.”  His death inspired the movie “Fraternity Row.”

“Ozzie and Harriet” TV star David Nelson was a recent alumnus of this chapter and involved his fraternity in several episodes. He was likely not present at Swanson’s death.  However, the tradition likely existed without a death when David Nelson was a pledge and member.

76) 1959

Yakima High School (Washington State); Moxee School District

Moxeee Letterman’s Club

Paddling and dunking of new members wearing burlap sacks; under supervision of a coach

Henry Allen Sherwood, Jr., the unlucky one of 16 initiates, drowned wearing a burlap sack after submitting to a paddling. Head football coach Donald L. (Don) Smith was present and overseeing the paddling and subsequent tragedy. School officials took no swift action in the week following the death, and Smith and up to 40 players were questioned by a prosecutor. As would be commonplace over time, the death was ruled accidental. The parents sued, lost, and won an appeal charging the Moxee school district with negligence that sent the case to trial. News  Clipping here.

Important: See judgments by Washington State Supreme Court re school responsibility.

Henry Sherwood, Jr.
1958 Moxee HS football. Coach Smith is at top

77, 78, 79, 80) 1960

Pi Kappa Phi

Northern Illinois University (Dekalb, IL)

Fatality following unsanctioned pledge party (auto accident)

Alcohol had been provided to pledges and members at an unsanctioned NIU party prior to a horrific collision at 100 mph of a Greyhound bus and speeding, out-of-control 1957 convertible. The force of the impact disintegrated the vehicle into more than 100 pieces and made identification of bodies difficult. Four died in the accident that included one pledge and four senior members in the car. (The bus driver was unhurt, and no passengers were on board). Killed instantly were Harry Lamphier, Jr., 24, freshman William Gustafson, 18, William Kempfer, 19.

John Pauls, 19, died later at a hospital. The driver who lived was Raymond Uramkin, a junior, age 20 then and now 80 as of 2019. Three chapter officers faced charges of providing the alcohol, including Dean Schneck.

81) 1961

Clemson University (South Carolina)

Sigma Kappa Epsilon Death following a dropoff

Joe H. Derham is bottom row, 2nd from right

Joe Henry Derham, Jr., one of six students left to find his way back to campus, tried to take a short cut across Lake Hartwell in April and drowned. Years later, in 2014, Tucker Hipps would perish on the shore of the same lake.

82) 1962

Allegheny High School

Football Hazing, Suicide

Richard Metz, 17, was being attacked by two older football players in a hazing. They tried cutting off his ducktail style hair. Metz shot one of the young men, injuring him with a .22 pistol. Afraid of being sent to a correctional institution, Metz turned the weapon on himself and died in September of 1962. 

83) 1963

Charleston High School (West Virginia)

Band Hazing Alleged beating death

Long before the more famous deadly hazing of Robert Champion in a Florida A & M band hazing, high school band members accused of administering a fatal “pink belly” beating to 15-year-old newcomer Michael Murphy in a hazing were let go by a court and acquitted, according to the Spokane Daily Chronicle (October 18, 1963).

84) 1963

University of Florida and Abilene Christian College (Now Abilene Christian University, Texas)

Fraternal Organization of Lifeguards Water Initiation Ritual; Lifeguard Hazing

George E. Beers, 28, died following a lifeguard hazing initiation in the Atlantic Ocean. At first charges were dropped on a technicality against University of Florida undergraduates John Masters and John Tanner, as well as Roger Orrell, an Abilene Christian [University] student.  In January of 1964, a charge of culpable negligence was filed by the state attorney. He was held underwater in a strenuous exercise that had been held annually at least since 1958.

85) 1964

University of Rhode Island

Lambda Chi Alpha

All-night pledging ritual (quite probably a scavenger hunt); fatal accident

Jose Manual Costa, 20, died and pledge Robert Niggi, 19, was seriously injured when their car left the road and struck a telephone pole in N. Kingston, R.I. Source The Journal News, White Plains, December 17, 1964. The university president levied a punishment of probation and only $500 against the chapter, claiming that over the previous fifty years it contributed “significantly to the university.”

86) 1965

Georgetown College (Kentucky)

Pi Kappa Alpha Death During “Pinning” Pseudo-initiation

Member Richard Winder drowned in dam waters while hazing a fellow member during a silly initiation practiced by members after someone in the chapter was pinned or engaged.

Above: Cincinnati Enquirer. February 14, 1965.

87) 1966

Roman Catholic High School (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

Athletic hazing: Drowning

Lamonte R. Jenkins died of drowning after being tossed into water near West Chester, according to New York Times and the Hazleton Standard-Speaker . Authorities found “no malicious intent,” according to the Standard-Speaker. He was at a football camp.

88) 1967

Baylor University (Texas)

Baylor Chamber of Commerce (social club)

Physical hazing (eating ritual) John E. Clifton died while choking down a foul concoction and laxatives requested by members. The state ruled the incident an accident, and the then-college president said the incident did not meet his definition of hazing. Faced with media backlash, President Abner McCall reversed his position and banned “physical” hazing.

89, 90, 91) 1968

Steubenville College Steubenville, Ohio

Fraternity hazing Auto accident during all-night scavenger hunt

Two men on a fraternity scavenger hunt and a friend who drove the car all died in a smashup during a grueling, all-night scavenger hunt. The dead were Michael L. DiBacco, Trent Ciarrochia, and William Entinger. DiBacco was the driver of the other car and was on his way to work. Trent Ciarrochia, and William Entinger were on the fraternity scavenger hunt. The young men were not carrying identification and were traced through th ecar’s registration.

92) 1969

Muskingum College (New Concord, Ohio): Now Muskingum University

Athletic hazing

Overexertion during exercise session Scott Graeler, a sophomore varsity tackle, died during an initiation at the team’s Stag Club House. A club president later paid a $100 fine, according to Wikipedia. According to the Times Recorder of Zanesville, Ohio, the person fined by the court was John (Jack) Falcon, a junior.The coroner’s verdict was heart failure due to overexertion. “The death was not intentional,” said Jodge J. Lincoln Knapp, defending the typical light sentence for hazing. “There but for the grace of God could have gone many others.” Graeler was dead on arrival on Feb. 8, 1969. He was taken ill at the campus’s Stag Club. 

93) 1970

Eastern Illinois University

Alpha Gamma Delta sorority

Accidental death of member during prank abduction A sorority member jumped on the bumper of a moving car as pledges tried to abandon her in the country as a joke. The death of Donna Bedinger was ruled accidental by authorities, and a family member argued that her death should be called a prank, not hazing. Was alcohol a factor?  No alcohol charges were placed against the pledges. My interview with the district attorney who declined to press charges did not include any questions from me on alcohol. The district attorney said one of his fraternity brothers incurred a head injury in a hazing.

94) 1971

Tulane University (Louisiana)

Delta Kappa Epsilon

Rush-related horseplay or hazing

Wayne Kennedy, 17, drowned after being thrown in a lake during a rush party. Authorities at the time called the incident non-hazing horseplay. Was alcohol a factor? Yes. It took years and another pledge’s serious eye injury before Tulane banned DKE. LINK: tulane__Apr_5__1978_

95) 1972

Pierce College (California)

Chi Chi Chi Death Following Hazing Dropoff

Member Fred Bronner was taken on a dropoff for his alleged bad attitude by members. Taken without his glasses that were on order after breaking, the impaired member plunged into a gorge and died. Fraternity brothers were sentenced to light community service. Was alcohol a factor? Unknown to moderator.

96) 1972

University of Maryland

Sigma Alpha Mu

Physical hazing

Member Brian Cursack collapsed and died after performing calisthenics during pledging. Was alcohol a factor? Unknown to moderator.

97) 1973

Lehigh University (Pennsylvania)

Delta Phi Pledge leaped from car during abduction

Pledge Mitchell (Mitch)  Fishkin died when he jumped from car while being taken to a dropoff far from campus. School and fraternity officials called the incident horseplay, not hazing. The father called it hazing “prank” and sued for $21 million. Was alcohol a factor? Unknown to moderator. Here is a story about his roommates and their loss.

98, 99, 100, 101)  1974

Grove City College (Pennsylvania)


Four pledges died following dropoff Four of the 17 pledges taken on a dropoff were killed by a car whose driver had fallen asleep at the wheel. The dead were Thomas Morgan Elliott, John Curtin, Rudolph Mion, and Gary Gilliland, all 18. Was alcohol a factor?  Unknown. A relative wrote to say her family believed the driver had been drinking but that no charges had been placed to the family’s knowledge. Most accounts say the driver fell asleep at the wheel.

102)  1974

Monmouth College (New Jersey)

Zeta Beta Tau

Physical hazing


William E. Flowers, 19, suffocated after being entombed in a grave members asked him to dig on a sandy ocean beach. Was alcohol a factor? Unknown to moderator. However, none of my press clippings mention alcohol use in this case, nor did Mrs. Dorothy Flowers cite alcohol in my interview with her in 1989. Below, Philadelphia Daily News, Nov. 13, 1974

103) 1974

Bluefield State College (West Virginia)

Tau Kappa Epsilon

Shooting during pre-induction Michael Bishop, a fraternity member, was shot and killed by the chapter’s graduate adviser during a bizarre hazing. Frank Hollis, also 20, of Bluefield was wounded. Cans were put on heads of pledges and knocked off with a stick simultaneously as a gun was fired by a member or the adviser. Alcohol: primary factor. Bluefield State College authorities refused to meet with me in 1989 when I came to campus and researched the story. State trooper J. R. Howell who investigated the case assisted me with research and my questions. (Thank you).

Edwin Taylor, 28, the adviser and owner of the cabin, was charged with murder and malicious wounding. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for Nov. 12 for Mr. Taylor, who was released on $10,000 bond.

104) 1975

Northern Illinois University

Wine Psi Phi

Alcohol-related hazing death Richard A. Gowins died following alcohol poisoning mandated by members of a social club not affiliated with the university. Alcohol: primary factor.

105) 1975

University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point

Siasefi fraternity (spelling is correct)

Alcohol-related hazing death Pledge David Hoffman died in his sleep after members took him on a so-called “Death March” during which students drank at local bars. Alcohol: primary factor.

106) 1975

University of Nevada, Reno

Sundowners (local drinking fraternity)

Alcohol-related initiation drinking death Pledge John Davies, a varsity football player, died on the bed of a pickup truck at Pyramid Lake after members required three days of marathon drinking. The club was under suspension by the university at the time of death. Hazing had been outlawed at Nevada as early as 1906 by President Edward E. Stubbs. Alcohol: primary factor.

107) 1975

Washington State University

Tau Kappa Epsilon

Hell Week death from pneumonia

Sleep-deprived pledge John Asher died of pneumonia following a Hell Week in which he voluntarily participated in heavy exercises despite being very ill. Alcohol use not cited in documents I have from a WSU medical doctor.

108) 1975

Cheyney University of Pennsylvania (then-Cheyney State College)

Freshman-sophomore class hazing Physical hazing

During a brutal session in which freshman Theodore Ben had to carry another on his back, he lapsed into a coma and died. The then-college president denied all responsibility. Alcohol use: Unknown but unlikely. Hazing due to physical violence? Yes. A judge dropped all charges against Barrie Williams, 19. and Frank Stevens, 20.

109) 1976

Texas Tech University

Pi Kappa Alpha Member death during scavenger hunt

Fraternity pledges and members lost track of member Samuel Mark Click. A search party found he had been hit and killed by a train. Alcohol use: not cited in press reports.

110) 1976

St. John’s University (New York)

Pershing Rifles Bayonet stabbing during hazing incident

ROTC pledge Thomas Fitzgerald, a student at another school (Queens) who had applied for admission into the elite St. John’s chapter, was accidentally impaled by a bayonet blade during a stunt meant merely to intimidate him. Police said James Savino wielded the deadly blade. School and military officials refused to call the incident hazing, referring to it euphemistically as “unauthorized training.” Alcohol use not cited in press reports.

111) 1977

University of Pennsylvania

Unrecognized renegade chapter of Omega Psi Phi.

Physical hazing

A pledge, Robert J. Bazile, died of a heart attack after weeks of beatings and physical exertion at the bequest of a chapter which claimed it had a connection with a national historically black fraternity. The national disavowed all ties. Physical hazing a factor? Yes.

112) 1977

University of Missouri, Rolla

Kappa Alpha Order, and Daughters of Lee Initiation accident

A cannon misfired and exploded during a Daughters of Lee little sisters’ initiation, killing fraternity member Randall Crustals, 21. No alcohol or physical violence.

113) 1978

Loras College (Iowa)

Gamma Psi (drinking club unrecognized by the school)

Alcohol-related death

Stephen J. McNamara died in a residence hall room following a drinking marathon with members. Alcohol the primary factor in cause of death.

114) 1978

Alfred University (New York)

Klan Alpine fraternity

Alcohol-related hazing death

Pledge Charles (Chuck) Stenzel died following an intense drinking bout requested by local chapter members as part of Tapping Night, the school’s traditional opening night of pledging. The investigation by a local prosecuting attorney never formally was closed, but no charges ever were forthcoming. Chuck’s mother, Eileen Stevens, founded CHUCK, the Committee to Halt Useless College Killings. See “Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing for the stories of Chuck Stenzel and his activist mother, Mrs. Stevens.


Alcohol served by members the primary cause of Chuck’s death.

115) 1978

North Carolina Central University

Renegade chapter of Omega Psi Phi

Physical exercise collapse Nathaniel Swinson, 20, already ill, collapsed during a laborious workout demanded of him and died.  One newspaper article said the chapter had been newly chartered by the national (The Dispatch, February 8, 1978).  Pledges continued to exercise as he lay resting instead of being taken to a hospital.

116) 1979

Louisiana State University

Theta Xi

Ritual march

Bruce Wiseman was blindfolded when a car plowed into him and other pledges on a dark road in the countryside. He alone died.

117) 1979

Rutgers University (New Jersey)

Delta Phi

Alcohol-related Pledging death

University officials ruled non-hazing a voluntary drinking bout at dawn that afterwards was a factor when pledge Richard C. Fuhs, Jr., died in an auto accident. Alcohol contributed to the death. The accident occurred at the end of Hell Week when pledges and members drove in carloads to a bar. Pledge John E. McDonald was at the wheel. His first trial ended in a mistrial. Fuhs died of head injuries. Two other pledges in the car survived. They were John Boersma and John O’Connor.

118, 119) 1979

Virginia State College

Beta Phi Burgundy (female) and Wine Psi Phi (male) Pledging-related accident

Pledge Norsha Lynn Delk died in a river drowning during a so-called cleansing ceremony and pledge Robert Etheridge died trying to rescue her. Unknown if alcohol was present. Not cited in press clippings at time.

120) 1980

University of North Dakota

Sigma Nu Member stabbed by member during “Discipline Session”

A member who was being punished with a “cherry belly” by other members disciplining him for his alleged bad attitude accidentally stabbed and killed Kingsley Davidson, 19. The member was found not guilty of involuntary manslaughter. Alcohol not cited in press clippings.

121) 1980

Clarkson University (New York)

Alpha Epsilon Pi

Pledging-related accident

Pledge David Masciantonio, 19, died while jogging at 3 a.m. with other pledges when a car struck him. A school spokesman at the time said no hazing occurred in spite of the hour, but a hazing activist attacked the denial. Alcohol use not cited in press clippings or police investigation.

122) 1980

Mississippi State University

Pi Kappa Alpha

Reverse hazing (pledge sneak)

Member Curtis Huntley, 20, went into a coma and died after leaping from a car filled with pledges who wanted to dunk him in a mudhole. Alcohol use not cited in press clippings or police investigation.

123) 1980

University of Missouri

Phi Kappa Psi

Pledging-related incident (then dismissed as horseplay by school authorities)

Pledge Lex Dean Batson fell to his death from a bluff following a prank in which pledges and members tried to urinate on a statue below. A family member disputed officials’ finding that the incident was horseplay, not hazing. Alcohol use was present but I do not know if it was direct cause of death.

 - Mother Wants Hazing Inquiry In Death Of Son At...
 St, Louis Post-Dispatch; Oct. 26, 1980

124) 1980

Ithaca College

Delta Kappa

Physical hazing

Pledge Joseph (Joey) Parella, 18, died exercising in a steam room. Alcohol use not cited in press clippings or police investigation. Many additional types of hazing endured by Joey Parrella are listed in news clippings of the day.

Distraught mother Elizabeth Parrella came to Ithaca College for answers. She accused the college and Delta Kappa of stonewalling.

Three years later, Paul Cohodes plunged to his death after accepting a dare to climb into a stopped, open elevator car. It was horse[lay, not hazing, but gave Ithaca College a second black eye.
125) 1980

University of Lowell (Massachusetts)

Delta Kappa Phi

Physical hazing

Pledge Steve Call lapsed into a coma and died following heavy exertion exercises. Alcohol use not cited in press clippings or police investigation.

126) 1980

University of South Carolina

Sigma Nu

Alcohol-related Hazing Death Pledge L. Barry Ballou choked to death after passing out at a ritualized drinking session attended by an alumnus and members.


Alcohol direct cause of death. His death is covered in detail in Nuwer’s “Broken Pledges.”

127) 1981

University of Wisconsin, Superior

FEX local fraternity

Physical hazing

Rick Cerra

Pledge Rick Cerra, 21, a wrestler, collapsed and died while exercising in VERY heavy clothing on a warm day at the behest of FEX (iron industry fraternity) members. Alcohol use not cited in press clippings or police investigation.

128) 1982

Towson State University

Alpha Omega Lambda

Sleep-deprivation related accident during servitude

Victor (Ricky) Siegel died wearing a Playboy bunny costume when he rolled his car while on a mission to get signatures from chapter alumni members. Alcohol use not cited in press clippings or police investigation.

129, 130) 1982

University of Virginia

Sigma Chi

Alcohol-related accident during pledging Two young pledges were killed when the rental van they were stuffed into with other pledges and members collided with another vehicle. Alcohol involved in the fatal accident. The dead were Christopher Meigs and Brian H. McKittrick.

131) 1983-1984

University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez

ROTC Panther Society

Arnaldo Mercado Perez, 18, was beaten, deprived of sleep, and physically and mentally abused at an extended hazing session and 30-mile hike that began December 26, 1983. At least ten students participated in activities that led to his death on January 5, 1984. Officer in charge Maj. Juan Robles stayed button-lipped. The civil case went nowhere. 

132) 1983

Tennessee State University

Omega Psi Phi

Pledging-related drinking and physical hazing session

Pledge Vann Watts died of an alcohol overdose. A fellow pledge claimed they had been beaten and made to drink, but other pledges denied hazing had occurred. Alcohol was a factor. Physical violence was present.  This death is a prime example of how the definition of hazing needed to be defined explicitly in future state laws. A second death occurred years later: same school, same chapter.

133) 1984

University of California, Davis

Kappa Alpha Order

Alcohol-related death

A truck filled with pledges and members on a mission to paint a rock with graffiti crashed on Interstate 80, killing Brad Bing, 21. Alcohol was a factor in the fatal accident.

134) 1984

Texas A & M University

Corps of Cadets

Hazing by calisthenics

Second-year member Bruce Ward Goodrich, 20, died from heatstroke while performing strenuous exercises at 2:30 a.m. One student was found guilty of destroying evidence (a company exercise schedule, and three pleaded guilty to hazing. Alcohol was not cited in police investigation or press coverage.

135) 1984 American International College

Zeta Chi local chapter of athletic team fraternity:

Alcohol-related hazing death


Pledge Jay Lenaghan, 19, died following a drinking marathon with a blood-alcohol level of 0.48. Alcohol overdose (mixed with non-otc drugs) was direct cause of death.

136) 1984

California State University, Chico

Tau Gamma Theta local fraternity (now unrecognized but alumni group is active: listed president is Michael W. Da Virro)

Prior to 1998, chapter operated as Phi Kappa Tau (also has had  notoriety).

Alcohol-related pledging death

Jeff Long (high school photo)

Pledge Jeffrey Franklin Long, 23, was killed by Michael W. Da Virro, a fellow pledge, who hit him in a speeding car. Ten pledges consumed at least two gallons of wine the night of the death. Members still maintain that the press overreacted to the death.  Alcohol was a prime factor in the death. Jeffery was the son of Alden and Judith Long.

The fraternity previously was the scene of a 1973 party attended by more than 1,500 guests in which guest Patricia Cathaline (Cathi) Farish was raped and strangled by another party guest, Aden R. Trey Miller III, a farm worker, who killed himself in police custody.

Charges against the members and pledges named below were dropped:

Letter from chapter in local paper:

All charges eventually were dropped. Mike Ginsberg then became chapter president.
Michael W. Da Virro testifying in court. His car struck and killed Jeff Long. The court dropped its charge against him. Now he serves as president of the chapter’s alumni group

Hi! I was at Chico State the semester following the death of Jeffrey Long. I made the mistake of pledging Sigma Phi Epsilon in spring 1984. The house was right next to the Tau Gamma Theta house. I was able to piece together a bit of information in regards to that incident and hazing in general at that point. The TGs (Tau Gamma Theta), had no problem getting pledges the following semesters, until they were allowed campus recognition in fall 1985. The general feeling of most in the greek system was “it could have happened to any fraternity’. While true it could have, there was a lack of compassion or awareness to the death of someone. To put it another way, a complete indifference. The Inter Fraternity Council was made up often of junior actives, who were members of hazing fraternities, that viewed meetings as a waste of time, and did it as a way to earn their stripes so to speak. In other words a rather impotent entity. One fraternity, Phi Kappa Tau, had a big brother little brother drink off, that always resulted in the pledges being sick for days after. They even made t-shirts for it. I quit the fraternity I was in, in disgust at the beginning of the next semester, as did a number of other guys in it. I have not come across a college where hazing is policed by the campus administration or any student government entity. I went back to Chico State in 1998 to pursue another degree. Hazing was still rampant, and the administration had nothing but cop out excuses when an incident took place. If you have read this far, thank you. I hope you can heighten the publics awareness that hazing still goes on. Neil Jones

Tau Gamma Theta also experienced the suicide of Benjamin Kovar in 2002, a fire caused by carelessness of members, and a fire started by an arsonist that destroyed the house.  When former Chico President Paul Zingg announced fraternal reforms in 2006, he was opposed by the chapter’s alumni association. 

137) 1985

University of Colorado

Kappa Alpha Theta

Alcohol-related pledging death

Sherri Ann Clark, remembered in a scholarship today

Under-aged pledge Sherri Ann Clark’s blood-alcohol level was three times the legal limit when she fell to her death at a party sponsored by two sororities. Fraternity and sorority national executives then and now have defined giving alcohol to pledges to be a form of hazing, but Clark’s death at the time was classified as a non-hazing alcohol-related death. Alcohol was a factor in the death. Read about a prestigious scholarship established in her name to honor her memory by her family.  John Bennett Rosen was  the  last  to  see  her  alive.   Charges  against  Rosen  were  dropped.  

138) 1985

University of Missouri, Columbia

Lambda Chi Alpha

Alcohol-related, pledging-related accident

Rushee Richard Allyn Butler, being driven home from a rush party by member Robert Sexe was killed in a car accident. Alcohol was a factor in the death. See Springfield News-Leader, October 4, 1985.

139)  1986

Lamar University (Texas)

Omega Psi Phi with involvement by non-member

Physical hazing

Pledge Harold Thomas, 25, died on a track of heart failure when a non-member in a fraternity shirt made him exercise. Authorities ruled the death non-hazing, but the incident sparked national interest in taking strong measures against renegade chapters and members. Thomas did not have the university-mandated grade-point average required for pledging eligibility. Alcohol was not a factor in the death. Overexertion led to death. A professor observed the abuse and failed to interfere or report.

140) 1986

University of Texas

Phi Kappa Psi

Alcohol-related hazing

Mark Seeberger, 18, died with a blood-alcohol level of 0.43 when members gave him rum and beer. A Travis County grand jury refused to indict anyone. Alcohol was a factor in the death.

141) 1987

University of Mississippi

Kappa Alpha Order

Alcohol-related fall

Although the death of Harry (Skip) Cline Jr., 18, was ruled an accidental, non-hazing death by university officials, it occurred after an annual drinking party at the house in which pledges were encouraged to drink.

Alcohol was a factor in the death, according to Frank Hurdle who was student newspaper editor at the time. “Alcohol was definitely a factor in the death of Skip Cline, following a Big Brother/Little Brother in which pledges went around asking actives if they were their big brother. If no, they were offered a drink but not forced to drink. Cline passed out at the house and is estimated to have reached a BAC of .45. He woke the next morning and walked out the back exit and fell down the second-floor steps. BAC at that time I think was .24.”

142) 1987

University of Arkansas

Pi Kappa Alpha

Alcohol-related pledging death

Todd Alan Prince

Rushee Todd Alan Prince, an underage drinker, was killed outside a restroom by a passing vehicle during a fraternity hayride in which the chapter supplied alcohol. Alcohol was a factor in the death.

143) 1987

Stanford University (California)

Zeta Psi

Alcohol-related Rush accident

Rush chairman David Dunshee, 20, died during a fraternity party held on a lake. Alcohol was a factor in the death. Moderator: Here is a helpful note from a member of Zeta Psi edited only for length, not content.

Hi Hank. This email will likely sound like one of self-preservation or defense on behalf of my fraternity, but I am simply submitting it to you because I figured you’d appreciate it. I found the original article about the incident on the Stanford Daily archives: https://stanforddailyarchive.com/cgi-bin/stanford?a=d&d=stanford19870427-01.2.2# Dunshee was a rush chairman. Although the party was a Rush event and alcohol was being served, and not being fully educated on the definitions in your area of study, I don’t really know if it falls under the category of a pledging-related death, though I can see that if having a rush event with alcohol is a precursor to any death then this incident could fall under that definition, even if it was not a pledge or a deliberate hazing incident.

Of course, you will know best how to edit the current entry. It does sound like the Zetes in that day certainly took some actions which were harmful to others, and in one case pledges were found bound by hands and feet at a nearby horse stable.. how that encourages unity is beyond me.
I’ll be reading more of your work in the coming weeks and I hope that you continue your fight along with the other groups working on policy change, so that we don’t hear these stories like the one at Penn State any longer. I feel fortunate that during my pledging process I was not subjected to anything like I have read on your website and elsewhere.. it makes me sick to my stomach thinking that a group of men all agreed at some point that some of these rituals are a good thing.

144) 1988

Rutgers University (New Jersey)

Lambda Chi Alpha

Alcohol-related Pledging Death

Pledge James Callahan died after members set up more than two hundred mixed drinks for he and other pledges to consume. Alcohol was primary cause of death.

Below: Central NJ Home News, Feb. 21, 1988

145) 1988

State University of New York at Albany

Tau Kappa Epsilon

Electrocution during pre-initiation “cleansing” ritual

School and law-enforcement officials ruled that hazing did not occur when pledges and members agreed to enter a lake that, unknown to them, was laced with an electric current due to a malfunctioning cable. Pledge Bryan Higgins died in the high-voltage death trap. Unknown to me whether alcohol was consumed in this episode.

146) 1988

University of Richmond (Virginia)

Pi Kappa Alpha

Accidental death during servitude

Matthew S. McCoy, 18, died asleep at the wheel while on a pledge errand. A school official ruled the incident was non-hazing although such pledging errands were not permitted by the international fraternity. Alcohol was not cited in investigation of fatal accident.

147) 1988

University of Texas

Delta Tau Delta

Pledging-related Accidental Death

Member Gregg Scott Phillips, 21, fell from a cliff while trying to escape pledges intent on tossing him fully clothed into a swimming pool. Unknown to me whether alcohol was consumed in this episode. Not mentioned in press coverage, however.

148) 1988

Rider College (New Jersey), now Rider University

Theta Chi

Pledging- and Alcohol-related Death  (aka  “pledge  sneak”

Pledge Sean T. Hickey, 19, died in a car filled with pledges and a kidnapped chapter member. A 19-year-old driver received a one-year sentence for his reckless speeding at the time of the accident. Alcohol was cited in investigation of fatal accident.

149) 1989

Morehouse College (Georgia)

Alpha Phi Alpha

Physical hazing

Joel Alan Harris

Pledge Joel Harris, 18, who had an enlarged heart, died after physical hazing. His death is covered in Nuwer’s “Broken Pledges.”


150) 1989

Dickinson College (Pennsylvania)

Alpha Chi Rho

Pledging-related death

Rushee Steven Butterworth fell out a window to his death after consuming ten quick drinks at a rush party. The death was ruled accidental, not a hazing. Alcohol was cited in investigation of fatal accidental fall.

151) 1990

Western Illinois University

Lacrosse Club

Athletic hazing


Nick Haben, a non-drinker ordinarily, died from an alcohol overdose while participating in alcohol games for a school athletic club. Several members were convicted by the courts of serving alcohol to a minor. Alcohol was direct cause of death. Nick’s death is covered in “High School Hazing” (Scholastic) by Hank Nuwer.

152) 1991

University of Missouri, Rolla

St. Pat’s Board

Alcohol-related hazing

Mike Nisbet, 28, choked on his own vomit during a drinking initiation into a campus local club. Alcohol was direct cause of death.

153) 1991

University of California, Berkeley

Phi Gamma Delta

Alcohol-related pledging death

Pledge John Moncello, 18, came to the house when ordered even though he warned members he had been drinking. Unsteady, he fell to his death from a fire escape. Alcohol was a factor in the death.

154) 1991

Trinity University (Texas)


Alcohol-related Pledging Accident

Pledge Rolland C. Pederson died when struck by a car on the side of the road while headed to a pledge retreat. Even though alcohol was involved, the school ruled the incident merely violated its alcohol policy and was not hazing. Alcohol was present and a factor but unknown if it was primary cause of accident.

155) 1992

University of Vermont

Sigma Phi Society Rush party

Alcohol-related accidental death

Rushee Jonathan S. McNamara, 17, fell from a cliff when he lost his balance while on an outing with members of the chapter he wished to pledge. His blood-alcohol level was 0.125. Alcohol was present and a factor but unknown if it was primary cause of accident.

Jonathan McNamara

Donations to the Jonathan S. McNamara Memorial Scholarship Inc. can be sent to: Dylan McNamara, 51 Tanglewood Dr, Essex Jct., VT 05452. Checks should be made to “Jonathan S. McNamara Memorial Scholarship Fund.” 100% of donations go to college-bound high school graduates of Vergennes Union High School.

156) 1992

University of Virginia

Alpha Phi Alpha

Pledging-related Accidental Death

Grossly sleep-deprived pledge Gregory Batipps died at the wheel of a car. A county commonwealth attorney called the death accidental, but the victim’s father disputed that hazing had not occurred. Physical hazing led to the exhaustion, according to news stories then quoting the victim’s father, a doctor.

157) 1992

Frostburg State University (Maryland)

Phi Sigma Kappa

Pledging-related death

An ill and exhausted J.B. (John B.) Joynt III died following a pledge sneak in which pledges rough-housed with members. The fraternity blamed the death on illness and argued that hazing had not occurred. No charges were filed, and police destroyed Joynt’s pledge book. Unknown to me if alcohol was a factor.  Victim’s sister cited physical violence, not alcohol, during my interview with her.

J.B. Joynt III Memorial Scholarship

The recipient must be a full-time incoming freshman who is a graduate of Laurel High School, Laurel, MD. A letter of recommendation from the applicant’s high school must be submitted. Participation in extracurricular activities is a requirement. In the event of equally qualified applicants, preference will be given to applicants with demonstrated financial need. Please provide a name and email address for a letter of recommendation from a high school teacher or counselor. As a professional courtesy, please be sure to notify the reference before adding his/her name here.

158) 1993

Auburn University (Alabama)

Phi Delta Theta

Alcohol-related Death Chad Saucier, a pledge even though he was a community college student and not an Auburn student, died from alcohol intoxication following an annual bottle exchange between members and pledges. His death is covered in “Wrongs of Passage” by Hank Nuwer. Pledges were dressed like Santa’s elves.


Alcohol was a direct cause of death. Another pledge was injured when he fell out a window.

159) 1993

Alcorn State University (Mississippi)

Alpha Phi Omega (inactive, banned chapter at the time)

Death During So-Called Prank

Leslie Ware, 18, was shot at 1 a.m. on a school light while stealing a chair. He was shot by the boyfriend of the woman who owned the chair. The surviving pledges originally said they were procuring the chair for a member who requested it, but then retracted the claim to say they were pulling a prank on their own. I do not know if the shooter had been drinking at time of death. No press accounts mention alcohol or physical hazing.

160) 1994

Bloomsburg University (Pennsylvania)

Delta Chi

Alcohol-Related Death of Member at Hell Night

Member Terry Linn, 21, died following pledging Hell Night with a blood-alcohol count of 0.40. Alcohol was a direct cause of death.

161) 1994

Southeast Missouri State

Kappa Alpha Psi

Physical Hazing

“Candidate for initiation” Michael Davis was beaten to death by members. Several members served small sentences


Physical violence was direct cause of death. Alcohol use was never mentioned in press coverage or my conversations with family members.

162) 1995

University of Texas

Texas Cowboys

Alcohol-related Death by Drowning

Gabriel Higgins drowned in the Colorado River after participating in silly drinking games at the initiation party on the ranch of an alumnus who did not partake in the games. Alcohol and possibly exhaustion from exercise during drinking games contributed to the fatal accident.

163) 1995

University of Virginia

Pi Kappa Phi

Alcohol-related Death Following Rush Function

Member Brian Cook, 21, died in an auto accident following a rush event he himself had chaired. A fraternity brother was convicted of driving under the influence. Alcohol provided by the chapter was a primary factor in the accident.

164) 1995

University of Iowa

Lambda Chi Alpha

Alcohol-related hazing

Pledge Matthew Garafolo died with Magic Marker colorings and words on his face after being given alcohol to drink by members. He threw up and suffocated. His parents sued the chapter, labeling the activities hazing. The University of Iowa responded with a student alcohol awareness campaign funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

165) 1996

University of New Hampshire


Alcohol-related fall from roof

Acacia was well known for its hazing practices and was on probation for 1991 hazing violations. Pledge Todd Cruikshank, 18, drank along with members and other pledges. The party continued on the roof and the intoxicated youth fell to his death.

The chapter at the time put the blame for the death of 18-year-old Todd Cruikshank in a roof fall on him, saying he like others in the house and above it had chosen to drink voluntarily.  

166) 1997

Texas A & M

Phi Gamma Delta

Asthma attack during pledging activities

A Brazos County grand jury brought no charges against members who soaked a pledge with water on a chilly January day. Although Trey Walker was cleaning the house, members insisted no hazing had occurred. Walker’s family argued hazing was a factor in his death. Alcohol was not cited as used at time of death, according to a family member.

167, 168) 1997

UCLA (California)

Lambda Chi Alpha

Accidental drowning during Drinking Event

During Pledging Pledges Brian T. Sanders and Brian Pearce died during a pledge and member outing in which alcohol was served pledges. Alcohol likely contributed to the two deaths. Brian died heroically died trying to locate Pearce. The national fraternity closed the chapter.

169) 1997

North Carolina State University

Tau Kappa Epsilon

Drowning Following Initiation

Steven Velazquez, 19, died when he and other members and new members dove into a lake for a traditional swim following the initiation of pledges. A 911 call reporting the accident said all had been “roughing around” when the death occurred. Hazing was denied by participants. Unknown if alcohol was a factor in drowning).

170) 1997

Louisiana State University

Sigma Alpha Epsilon

Alcohol-related Pledging death

Benjamin Wynne, 20, died at the start of the LSU school year while celebrating his acceptance as a pledge. His alcohol level was nearly six times the legal limit. Alcohol was the cause of death.

Ben Wynne

171) 1997

Clarkson University and State University of New York at Potsdam

Theta Chi

Alcohol-related hazing

Binaya Oja, 17, died from alcohol intoxication on bid night. Alcohol was the cause of death. The two schools shared pledging at the time of death.

172) 1997

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Phi Gamma Delta

Alcohol-related Pledging Death

Pledge Scott Krueger, 18, went into a coma and died at a pledge party.  Charges were filed against the chapter instead of members, and the chapter merely dissolved with little or no consequence to individuals. The school settled with Krueger’s parents for $6 million. Alcohol contributed significantly to the death.  He was removed from life support due to alcohol-related damage to his body.

173) 1998

University of Washington

Delta Kappa Epsilon

Suicide a possible link to hazing incident

John Laduca, 18, a newly initiated member who had endured hazing but also had personal problems, killed himself in the house. The national fraternity said the personal problems, not hazing, contributed to Laduca’s suicide. Laduca’s family insisted the hazing and sleep deprivation might have clouded their son’s judgment. Unknown to me if alcohol was present during the suicide itself. Important Declaration:  Although media accounts have linked suicides on this page to hazing, it is important for journalists and the public alike to recognize that depression is the most common link to suicides of all populations.  I think it important to report when the parents of victims believe hazing is the cause and quote them accurately, but it is also important to note that it is one thing to note there is a huge difference between an alleged link between hazing/bullying and listing it as “the cause” of such deaths. I try to err on the side of caution. HN

174) 1998

University of Michigan

Phi Delta Theta and Chi Omega

Fall of Pledge out a window

Courtney Cantor had a small amount of alcohol and possibly a date-rape drug in her system as she plunged from a dormitory to her death.  In some ways, her death was a mystery in that her final movements were unknown. However, both national organizations strongly insist on alcohol-free pledging. Alcohol was present in the under-aged woman’s system

. 1017_cantor

175) 1998

University of Mississippi

Sigma Chi


Dudley R. Moore IV died by hanging. He had been hazed prior to dying, but the family and university blamed personal problems, not the chapter, as the main cause for Moore’s actions. Unknown to me if alcohol was present during the suicide itself. Important Declaration:  Although media accounts have linked suicides on this page to hazing, it is important for journalists and the public alike to recognize that depression is the most common link to suicides of all populations.  I think it important to report when the parents of victims believe hazing is the cause and quote them accurately, but it is also important to note that it is one thing to note there is a huge difference between an alleged link between hazing/bullying and listing it as “the cause” of such deaths. I try to err on the side of caution. HN

176) 1998

University of Texas

Phi Kappa Sigma

Alcohol-related death

Member Jack L. Ivey, Jr., 23, died after pledges played a drinking game with him. His blood-alcohol level was 0.40. Alcohol was cause of death.

177) 1999

Iona College (New York)

Sigma Tau Omega

Alcohol-related death

Pledge Kevin Lawless, 18, died during pledging from an alcohol overdose. Seven members were fined and given a one-year conditional discharge. Alcohol was cause of death.

178) 1999

Ferris State University

Knights of College Leadership (disbanded from former national fraternity)

Alcohol death

Pledge Stephen Petz, 19, died during an initiation that was videotaped. Members were convicted for serving alcohol to a minor. Michigan later passed a state hazing law. 27 shots of alcohol was cause of death. A member found guilty of a felony had his conviction thrown out by a judge years after the trial.

179) 1999

University of Richmond

First-year class orientation tradition

Drowning accident

First-year student Donnie Lindsey Jr. drowned after jumping into a campus lake in an unsanctioned ritual following a university-sanctioned signing of the school’s honor code. No hazing charges were brought against event organizers. No mention of alcohol was in press coverage.  It is unlikely given the circumstances, however. He was a star athlete and competent swimmer.

Continued: See 2000 – 2021 U.S. Hazing Deaths, Hank Nuwer

Deaths Through 2017 above in map. Info from Hank Nuwer. Illustration: The Economist*.