Hazing News

New York State proposes tough new restrictions on hazing

Here is the story link.  New York’s major breakthrough in hazing law reform came as a result of the advocacy of Eileen Stevens following the death of her son Chuck Stenzel in February of 1978. I find it appropriate that this new law is being considered as the 36th anniversary of Chuck’s death is occurring.

CBS carried this story: “Two state lawmakers are looking to strengthen New York’s anti-hazing laws after a Baruch College fraternity member died in December.

Assemblyman David Weprin, D-Fresh Meadows, announced Sunday he has co-authored a bill that would expand the state’s current anti-hazing statute by prohibiting “all physical conduct and physical activities required from fraternities during the pledging ceremonies,” he said in a news release. The current law prohibits conduct that creates a substantial risk of physical injury or causes injury.

“We were kind of too general as to what would come under the classification of hazing, which is already illegal under New York state law,” Weprin told WCBS 880.

“We want to make fraternities or any organization aware of this legislation and the need to crack down on any of these rituals that involve any form of physical contact. The intent may not be to cause physical injury, but once you’re dealing with physical contact, you don’t know where it’s going to end up.”

The legislation has been named “Michael’s Law,” in honor of Chun “Michael” Deng, 19, who died after sustaining a fatal brain injury after participating in an initiation ritual during a Pi Delta Psi trip to Tunkhannock Township, Pa., in December. Earlier this month, a Pennsylvania coroner ruled Deng’s death a homicide.

Monroe County District Attorney David Christine has said he plans to file criminal charges in the freshman’s death.”



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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