Hazing News

Ozy: Sordid Past and Coverups

Here is a review of Hazing: Destroying Young Lives (Hank Nuwer) by Ozy Magazine


But it was not until extracurricular societies, including almost exclusively male social fraternities, started to proliferate on college campuses during the 19th century that hazing really came into its own. By the time Mort Leggett entered Cornell in 1873, hazing was a fact of life for many freshmen, usually taking the form of being paddled, getting one’s head shaved or performing some sort of physical challenge. The “preliminaries” that Leggett was told he would have to endure to “earn” membership into Kappa Alpha Society entailed being blindfolded and marched at night up a narrow trail adjacent to a ravine. When the young pledge was left unattended for a moment, he lost his bearings and tumbled into the gorge below. Neither KAS nor any of its members received any punishment, and key details of the incident, including that Leggett had been blindfolded, were omitted from accounts of the time, says Hank Nuwer, editor of Hazing: Destroying Young Lives. “The cover-ups that we see on college campuses today go back all the way to the first fraternity hazing death in 1873.”

By Hank Nuwer

Hank Nuwer is the Indiana-based author of Hazing: Destroying Young Lives; 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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