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Hazing News

Update on that Missouri close call

Link to NY Post story

And an excerpt

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A former University of Missouri student is suing a fraternity and its parent organization over an alleged hazing incident he says left him with near-fatal alcohol poisoning while the frat already was on probation for alcohol infractions.

Brandon Zingale’s lawsuit filed Thursday in Boone County — home of the Columbia campus he attended — alleges he and other pledges of the Kappa Alpha Order’s Alpha Kappa chapter were “coerced” to participate in a September 2016 vodka-chugging contest.

After that forced binge incapacitated Zingale, then an 18-year-old freshman, he was left alone in a bedroom overnight and was found the next morning drenched in urine, “unconscious, barely breathing and unable to be awakened,” the lawsuit alleges.

When rushed by ambulance to a hospital 10 hours after the drinking stunt, Zingale still had a blood-alcohol level of .41 — five times more than the state’s legal threshold for intoxication and within the range considered lethal, according to the lawsuit.

Fraternity members “were instructed and agreed to keep the truth about what happened to Brandon from university officials, the police and Brandon’s family,” the lawsuit alleges while also claiming that Zingale was drugged against his will at least once.

That alleged hazing came roughly two weeks after the fraternity already had been placed on semester-long probation for illegally providing alcohol to minors. The university suspended the fraternity the next month, then weeks later barred it from officially being recognized on campus for five years, citing repeated conduct violations that included Zingale’s case. The ban prohibits the fraternity from campus activities and access to some university amenities, including auditoriums and meeting rooms.

Zingale withdrew from the university shortly after the incident and has enlisted in the military, according to the lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages and also names three members of the fraternity, including its president at the time.

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--http://realalaskadaily.com and in his weekly column "Far from Randolph" in the Winchester Star-Gazette of Randolph County, Indiana.

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