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Two past cases involving how much blame a pledge takes for his own death

The Christian Science Monitor raises some important questions about the role of a pledge who knowingly accepts a beating to gain admission into a group. While the author does a good job, he fails to note that the courts assigned a very small percentage of blame to pledge Chad Meredith following his drowning death. The courts in a South Carolina case made a ruling in the death of Barry Ballou for Sigma Nu at U South Carolina that being of sound mine he could understand that he was accepting hazing–but not to the point of death. On the other hand, New Hampshire law puts a burden on pledges to take responsibility for any hazing injuries they incur–along with responsibility to the perps. In this case, I am watching the court proceedings ahead as intently as everyone.  Both sides may decide to settlle the civil lawsuit–as is very common in such cases. The largest settlement to date was MIT and the death of Scott Krueger: $6 million. http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Justice/2012/0911/FAMU-blames-hazing-victim-for-his-own-death-Heartless-or-prudent

By Hank Nuwer

Hank Nuwer is the Indiana-based author of 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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