Hazing News

Alcohol and hazing statistics: 2004-2012 — What can we conclude–if anything?

I had a question from a writer regarding recent cumulative numbers in fraternity hazing deaths with regard to alcohol presence.

Numbers may be too low to conclude “alcohol and hazing” trends in my opinion but it is worth looking at.

In summer I will find out via FOIA if alcohol was a factor in the 2 of 18 deaths* where it MIGHT have been a factor but officers did not report alcohol use to my knowledge.

2004-2012 Hazing and alcohol

14 of 18 possible hazing or pledging-related deaths 2004-2012 directly involved alcohol and hazing among pledges and/or members

2 of 18 apparent hazing-related deaths  2004-2012 have little or ZERO evidence alcohol was a factor.

2 of 18 deaths by apparent hazing 2004-2012 MiGHT have possible alcohol use but investigation by officers did not focus on alcohol use, making two cases inconclusive re alcohol use during pledging. (I will do a FOIA check in summer to see if alcohol was issue–at least in the coroner’s estimation. The two are at Lenoir-Rhyne and Cal-Irvine).*

The numbers may be too low to make more than anecdotal conclusions. But let us give the 18 a look.

Thus, what do we know? 14 of 18 deaths 2004-2012 definitely were hazing-and alcohol-related, but two of the 18 had ZERO publicized evidence that hazing/w/alcohol was a factor.

Two deaths* were, in my opinion, not as thoroughly investigated with regard to alcohol use as most other hazing cases have been but perhaps the coroners’ reports may shed some additional light.

Can we draw any conclusions about hazing deaths from this relatively low number of deaths? Perhaps not. Number is very low. We also need to get the coroner conclusions on the two deaths I have questions about with regard to whether alcohol was present in pledges or members at time of death. Thanks. Moderator.


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.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.