Hazing News

Maryland: no charges in injury. Compare with Chico Beta case which will end up in court

All: Here is an article from the U-Maryland Diamonback on ZBT hazing. Compare to Beta Theta Pi charges in Calif.  Police responses to hazing vary from indifference to abdicating responsibility to school officials…to actual placing of charges.

University officials have not contacted police about a student injured in a Zeta Beta Tau initiation ceremony days after the fraternity’s national chapter took action about the incident and months after administrators learned about it.

A state anti-hazing law prohibits putting students at risk of injury during school-related initiations. The university has identified activities that it considers hazing more broadly than state law.

Two high-ranking student leaders within the fraternity have also declined to comment on the incident, which the Zeta Beta Tau national organization determined violated the organization’s risk-management policy this week.

Student Government Association President Andrew Friedson condemned the act of hazing, but he would not comment specifically about his fraternity. Interfraternity Council President Arkady Gelman also declined to comment, saying he was waiting for the university to finish its investigation.

According to an Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life memo, in October, new members of the fraternity were seated in a circle and forced to chant the names of Zeta Beta Tau’s founders. If they misspoke, senior fraternity brothers poured water over their heads. At one point in the night, the water mixed with the Shout gel placed in a new member’s hair, injuring him.

Both OSFL and Zeta Beta Tau declined to specify the nature of the injury.

As the university conducts its own investigation into the incident, officials have not contacted police.

Although hazing is illegal in Maryland, Assistant Director of the Office of Student Conduct Tamara Saunders, who is leading the investigation, said the university only brings police in on a “situational” basis when investigating hazing.

Lt. Bernard Snowden of the Prince George’s County Police said in hazing cases it is traditionally the individual’s responsibility to contact the police.

Saunders said the university received new information about the incident this week, but could not say when the university will officially wrap up its investigation.
AddThis Social Bookmark Button

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.