Hazing News

Remembering Michael Davis

Remembering my sad interviews with Edith Davis and Michael’s sister for my “Wrongs of Passage” book.  This is a fine Southeast Missourian remembrance about Michael Davis as 25 years passes after his death. Story by Michael Bliss.


25 years later: Michael Davis’ hazing death had far-reaching consequences

Friday, February 15, 2019

Edith Davis speaks at a memorial service in 1994 for her son, Michael Davis, with her son, Boyd Davis Jr., and daughters, Marisa Hilliard and Candace Davis, at her side. The service was held in Academic Auditorium at Southeast Missouri State University.
Southeast Missourian file

Michael Davis was punched, slapped, slammed and caned for days before he died 25 years ago today, the victim of a brutal fraternity hazing ritual at Southeast Missouri State University.

The deadly attack had far reaching consequences. The incident drew national media coverage and focused the spotlight on the culture of hazing on college campuses.

More than a dozen men associated with Kappa Alpha Psi, a traditionally black fraternity, were prosecuted in connection with the hazing, including seven who were charged with involuntary manslaughter. Sentences ranged from probation to incarceration.

The fraternity was banned from Southeast. The Missouri Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the state’s anti-hazing law when one of the fraternity members appealed his conviction.

The case prompted later legislative changes elevating serious hazing incidents to felonies.

Michael Davis

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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