Hazing News

Inside Higher Education Recounts Rash of Fraternity Complaints

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“If you want to improve women’s lives on campus, if you want to give them a fair shot at living and learning as freely as men, the first thing you could do is close down the fraternities,” Caitlin Flanagan wrote. “The Yale complaint may finally do what no amount of female outrage and violation has accomplished. It just might shut them down for good.”

The North-American Interfraternity Conference responded with a letter to the editor, describing Flanagan’s column as extreme. “We understand the means to an end for promotions and publicity. But to disparage an entire institution is unacceptable, particularly for those who carry forward the best behavior, honors and upstanding demeanor that are usually under reported and overlooked.” The letter had not been published as of Thursday evening.

NIC President Peter Smithhisler reinforced his skepticism in an interview with Inside Higher Ed. “I think the goal was to be provocative and outrageous, but I don’t think that’s helpful in an issue that’s facing society and higher education as a whole,” he said, referring to sexual assault in Greek life. “I don’t want the impression that we support any of these negative activities, because we certainly don’t. The incongruence between values and actions is stressful to me. But I don’t think that it’s fair to create broad strokes against all fraternity activities.”

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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