Hazing News

This is a new development: Fraternity claims legacy father knew of hazing and says he shares blame

Moderator: Every now and then there is a legal twist to a hazing case that I have never seen used in a court matter winding up in court.  In this case, a University of Bakersfield chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi claims in its defense that the father of a pledge knew his son was being physically hazed. Stay tuned. Excerpt below and link here. Moderator Hank Nuwer

Brent McClanahan II filed the lawsuit against the fraternity in Los Angeles County Superior Court on April 2. In it, McClanahan said he was beaten repeatedly with canes, whips and paddles during a weeks-long pledge process.

Attorneys for the fraternity recently filed a motion for a change of venue from Los Angeles County to Kern County. A hearing on that motion is scheduled for Feb. 18.

In the meantime, new documents have surfaced that seem to indicate the student’s father, Brent McClanahan Sr., was aware of physical hazing and looked the other way.

Kappa Alpha Psi is a predominantly black fraternity founded on the campus of Indiana University in 1910.

CSUB sanctioned its local chapter from 1997 to 2007, and again in 2009. But the chapter was revoked for low membership and denied renewal in 2010 because the fraternity’s regional headquarters said it was not an officially established chapter.

The group McClanahan II was attempting to pledge was a “colony,” the formation of which is the first step toward establishing a chapter recognized by the fraternity and the host university.

Colonies are overseen by alumni of the fraternity. Those alumni are charged with guiding young people to make sure they learn about the fraternity’s history and rituals and abide by its rules, including a strict prohibition against hazing.

McClanahan Sr. is a Kappa Alpha Psi alumnus who has been listed in past local fraternity tax filings as its secretary and treasurer.

Fraternity attorney Michael Osborne said he will argue in court that McClanahan Sr. knew what was happening to his son and fully bought into the hazing culture.

“The alumni are supposed to make sure everyone is behaving themselves,” he said in a phone interview Thursday. “Instead, (the elder) Mr. McClanahan was involved the year before in the hazing and abuse of several of the members who then a year later committed the hazing against the son.” More here.



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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