Hazing News

Hazing Prevention in Arizona–even Chain Gang Honorary Society had hazing

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These headline cases represent extreme hazing, but they serve to underline the point made by Carol Thompson, UA senior associate dean of students. “Hazing is an issue on every college campus,” Thompson says. The UA is no exception, although, as she thankfully notes, during her 23 years in UA administration she has seen no hazing deaths.

Hazing cases at the UA in recent years run the gamut, from what students call “little h” offenses such as forcing pledges to clean the house or sitting at pledges-only study tables, right on up to life-threatening “big H” episodes. In the most serious incident, last January, a Sigma Chi pledge was locked in a freezer. By the time someone remembered to let him out, the young man was in a dangerous enough state to be taken to a hospital. The fraternity lost its UA recognition, as well as its charter from its national fraternity organization.

Withdrawing recognition is “not something we do easily, and until last year it was done rarely,” says Thompson, whose many jobs include investigating hazing complaints. “We withdrew recognition from Pi Kappa Alpha and Sigma Chi, and we suspended Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Kappa Sigma… Almost all these cases involved hazing.”

Pi Kappa Alpha lost its recognition because of an alcohol incident that occurred while the frat was already on probation for hazing. The previous school year, Delta Chi lost university recognition for a paddling incident and other hazing practices but the fraternity is working to regain recognition as early as next year.

Though Greek infractions get the most headlines, Thompson notes that hazing can infect all spheres of university life.

“It’s all over the map. We have had hazing complaints about athletic teams, sports clubs, honoraries, fraternities and sororities, and religious organizations.” Chain Gang junior honorary, for instance, was put on probation for the fall semester for hazing and alcohol infractions.

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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