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Hazing News

Letter to editor: Convicted sister’s punishment

Updated: 06/23/2009 04:23:25 PM MDT

I was disturbed by the report on Whitney Miller, a Utah State University student, pleading guilty in the hazing death of Michael Starks (“Sorority sister gets jail time, $1,000 fine,” Tribune , June 17). The only quotes were her defense attorney’s accusations and innuendoes. Aren’t there two sides to every story?

Miller pleaded guilty and expressed remorse, but her lawyer’s attempt to blame the victim makes her statements a bit weak. Earl Xiaz stated that Starks was “primarily responsible for his own demise.” Based on other articles I’ve read, I disagree; regardless, Starks has paid — with his life. That does not mean others who share the responsibility should be let off.

Colleges and universities need to pay more attention to what goes on in these establishments. Hazing should be disallowed. These are adults, albeit young, and in many respects are responsible for their own decisions, but parents expect the schools to watch their children carefully.

Whitney Miller has to spend 30 days in jail and do community service. The Starks family has to live without their son and brother for the rest of their lives. Miller got off easy.

M. Veronica Brand

West Jordan

By Hank Nuwer

Hank Nuwer is the Indiana-based author of Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. 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 new book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press.

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