Hazing News

Purdue takes additional steps to curb Greeks after .49 Sig Ep pledge’s close call

All: This is from the Purdue Exponent.  A few years ago, another Sig Ep did die in a fall from a house window while sleepwalking. That man did have alcohol in his system as well. — Moderator

Link and excerpt from editorial as well:

Purdue University’s Greek organizations are taking some important steps toward improving their reputations.

And none too soon. In 2006, a Sigma Phi Epsilon pledge ended up in the emergency room, his blood alcohol level a dangerous 0.49 percent — more than six times the legal driving limit. The pledge recovered, but university officials rightly suspended Sigma Phi.

No one should have to die for such activities to stop. There has not been a hazing-related death at the Purdue unless you count the 1913 death that occurred during a “traditional battle under a water tank,” according to Hank Nuwer, author of Wrongs of Passage: Fraternities, Sororities, Hazing, and Binge-Drinking. But hazing can kill. In 2005 a 21-year-old man died during a fraternity hazing at California State University, Chico. Cause of death? Water intoxication, which caused the swelling of his brain and lungs.

Hazing is not limited to universities or Greek organizations. Some of the most egregious instances occur in high schools, perpetrated on incoming freshmen or within athletic teams or cheerleading squads. Experts contend hazing is about power and domination.

Between 2001 and 2006, Purdue officials disciplined 34 student organizations, many for hazing violations, defined as any act that requires an act that “creates a substantial risk of physical harm … or seriously demeans or degrades any person or interferes with any person’s scholastic activities.”

In 2006, university officials suspended Delta Chi fraternity, an action that stemmed from an investigation into alleged hazing.

Of the 10 university sanctions of Greek organizations in 2005, half were due at least in part to hazing. But alcohol and drug violations are often related as well.

In 2002, Purdue officials disciplined Sigma Nu fraternity’s Beta Zeta chapter after an incident involving theft and underage drinking. In 2005, Purdue doled out a five-year suspension to Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity after three of its members were arrested on drug charges. The university withdrew its recognition of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity due to alcohol and drug violations. Two of three sorority sanctions levied from 2001 through 2006 were alcohol-related.

Purdue’s Greek organizations are attempting to change long-held, often negative, perceptions about Greek life. Change is difficult. But the need for these changes cannot be ignored.

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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