Hazing News

New Hazing at Chico State, says activist. News follows on heels of three tragic deaths, all nonhazing deaths

Forwarding an email below fyi from Debbie Smith (mother of deceased Chico hazing victim Matt Carrington) of interest possibly to you.  This is unverified, but if true is no doubt distressing news for Chico State Greek Affairs and administration that have worked hard for reforms and to end hazing on campus. Chico State recently (2007) suffered the alcohol-related death of a senior (presumably not linked to hazing) named Steve Davis

and the suicide of Joseph Dickerson (2007), and 2006 drug-related death of Kyle Bartley 

Debbie Smith’s message follows.

As the first court hearing that we are to attend in our civil case approaches we find there has been another hazing at Chico State. At this time I am not at liberty to go into detail but suffice to say we are hoping the offenders are prosecuted under Matt’s Law. What I am at liberty to say is thank God no one was killed, “this time”. If they are allowed to continue without accountability the next victims may not be so fortunate. Do we really want to wait for that to happen? I can also say that this was NOT a rogue fraternity it was in fact, I am told, a University-recognized and fully-chartered local chapter of one of the largest and more prestigious fraternities in the nation.

I will keep you apprised of the situation as it unfolds. I may even need your help down the road if indeed charges are filed. As you all know Matt’s Law was created to save lives so it is important that it is enforced when a hazing occurs. I am sure you will all agree we do not want to wait for another young person to die for Matt’s Law to go into effect.

As for the civil case, we go to court in Chico on Thursday, June 21st for a settlement hearing. What happens before, or on that date will determine whether we go back for trial in August.

Some of the young men involved in Matt’s death have settled but what’s really sad is the National Fraternity will not admit their guilt and until they do, either on their own, or when they are forced to by the courts these horrible attacks on our young people will continue – as we can ascertain by these current events.

In Matt’s case, they can say they revoked their charter until they are blue in the face but the fact is they had revoked their charter and reinstated it several times over the last 5 decades and it was only a matter of time before they would do it again. The fact remains that had they closed down that house back in the 60’s when they revoked their charter or the 80’s or the 90’s or in 2002, at any point in time had they actually meant it and closed that house down our precious Matt would be alive today. But they did NOTHING.

The fact is that these boys in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and so on did not learn hazing at home, they learned it by joining this fraternity and having these acts executed against them by those that had learned it the same way. Through the FRATERNITY. And until the fraternity can take responsibility for their part in teaching our children these hideous and extremely harmful acts nothing will change.

We have been desperately working towards some kind of healing but have found that some wounds never really heal. So as we prepare to relive, yet again, the horrific accounts of Matt’s death I ask that you please pray for us to have the strength to endure the horrible pain and that justice be served so that others will be spared.

Thank you for your continued support.

“Hug your children and tell them you love them everyday.”


Debbie [Smith], MM

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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