Hazing News

Rejected Phi Beta Sigma chapter at Alabama State sued

Alabama State University Student Sues Over Fraternity Hazing Case

Updated: May 5, 2008 10:56 PM

An Alabama State University student will soon get his day in court against a group he once wanted to call his brothers.

A former pledge named Patrick Miller is suing Phi Beta Sigma fraternity, saying after joined, several members carried out a ten week hazing campaign that included beatings and humiliation and ended with trouble for his marriage.

The university quad is one of the few places you’ll see the blue and white of Phi Beta Sigma on Alabama State’s campus.

It’s one of the last because of a scandal involving several members who hazed one of their own pledge brothers.

Miller’s lawsuit says for 67 days over a period of three months, members beat, assaulted, a humiliated him on several occasions.

Miller was kicked, beaten with a paddle and telephone books, slapped, thrown against a wall, cursed to his face, jabbed in the kidneys and degraded repeatedly.

The beatings got so bad, Miller needed emergency medical help during the last two weeks.

All of those actions run counter to the fraternity’s national charter.

Phi Beta Sigma executive director Marco McMillian declined a phone interview but but said the fraternity ‘vehemently opposes any form of hazing,’ and the groups website backs that up.

Some people might discount the hazing incident, saying it’s a part of Greek life.

But Miller’s suit points out the Montgomery Municipal court convicted several members for hazing in this case.

But they won’t face jail time because hazing is a misdemeanor under Alabama law.

So now, facing big medical bills because of his injuries, Miller is suing the group, and his case will go in front of a jury in July.

Miller remains a student at ASU. Both he and his attorney declined any comment Monday.

University officials say the fraternity’s national office has suspended the group from campus because of the incident.

Members can’t wear anything showing their affiliation, and the fraternity can’t return to campus before 2011.

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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