Hazing News

Hazing film raises awareness


Hazing Film Raises Awareness

By Timothy Woods, Contributing Writer

National Hazing Prevention Week’s mission is to bring attention to the problem of hazing across the country. In its second year, NHPW has become a national effort to understand and change the culture of hazing. This year’s theme was “hazing hurts” and SUNY New Paltz was successful in bringing organizations, students and faculty together to take a stand against hazing.

On Wednesday, Sept. 27, over 100 students joined together in the MPR to screen the documentary, “Unless a Death Occurs.”

The first half of this film was made in response to the tragic death of a freshman, Walter Dean Jennings, who was forced to drink a perilous amount of water while pledging an unrecognized fraternity at SUNY Plattsburgh in March 2003. The film includes interviews with the fraternity brothers of the former organization Psi Epsilon Chi, who received national attention from their unsafe practices, and were expelled from school for the part they played in the death of Jennings.

The second half of the movie interviews author Hank Nuwer and Dr. Elizabeth Allan, co-creator of, among others.

This part of the film took a look at our culture. Nuwer explained that a lot of young people become victims of a culture of hazing and that this behavior can be cultivated in high-school. Whether it is incoming students who may find themselves victims of hazing by upper classmen during the first week of school, or new members of sports teams who may be forced to partake in a series of degrading rituals to earn the respect of the team.

Link to rest of article:

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. In April of 2024, the Alaska Press Club awarded him first place in the Best Columnist division and Best Humorist, second place.

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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