Hazing News

Kentucky dissertation probes hidden student life, hazing

” A World to Suit Themselves”: Student-Constructed Narratives and the Hidden History of College Life

DM Brown – 2017 –
 This dissertation examined college students’ self-created accounts of their time in college in order
to identify  to, the ways in which students and their class cohorts antagonized one another, hazing,
and class  Theses and Dissertations–Educational Policy Studies and Evaluation. 

Author ORCID Identifier

Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Educational Policy Studies and Eval

First Advisor

Dr. John R. Thelin


An individual’s years in college are a time of trial and transformation. This dissertation examined college students’ self-created accounts of their time in college in order to identify students’ significant meaning-making activities during those years. Four primary areas of student life were investigated: the rules that students were expected to adhere to, the ways in which students and their class cohorts antagonized one another, hazing, and class competitions.

A comparative historical approach was used to analyze student-created accounts of college life in the years 1871-1941. Archival research at a geographically diverse sample of fourteen colleges and universities provided primary source materials created by students, including correspondence, diaries, photographs, and scrapbooks.

Collectively, these sources affirm that students derived their significant meaning-making experiences from their extracurricular activities. An additional dimension of the study proposed an extension of the work of sociologist Burton Clark on organizational sagas. An analysis of students’ self-reported experiences suggest that Clark’s notion of organizational sagas extends beyond the bounds of discrete institutions, reaching down to the level of individuals and upward to college students as a collective entity.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

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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