Hazing News

Was SUNY Stony Brook pledge tied to tracks?

SUNY New Paltz Offers Anti-Hazing Education

By Eloise Acevedo, Contributing Writer

The pledging process to become part of a fraternity or a sorority can be fatal.

At California State University’s Chico campus Mat-thew Carrington, 21, died while pledging for Chi Tau Fraternity. His death was due to heart failure and water intoxication, after he was told by fraternity brothers to chug five gallons of water. (editor: the reporter has it wrong. This movie is about a similar death at SUNY Plattsburgh involving Walt Jennings, also a pledge).

This story is told in “Unless a Death Occurs,”a video that was shown on Monday Sept. 24 in the Student Union Building as a part of anti-hazing week. …

Jusse Morine, a junior business major and fellow brother of Lambda Upsilon Lambda, was required to see the video because he was inducted last semester. “Hazing is anything that makes a person feel disrespected,” he said. “I know after seeing this video people would no longer haze because it shows you that you are dealing with other people’s lives so you should be cautious.”

Hazing is illegal at SUNY New Paltz. The restrictions range from not being able to wear “gear” to not being able to physically or mentally abuse someone. Greek organizations include not being able to cause humiliation to a pledge, scream at pledges or force physical activities. Brittany Bell, 19, a sophomore and secondary education major, pledged last semester and dropped the day before the girls crossed. Bell said the reason she dropped was not related to hazing but simply realizing being part of a sorority is not what she wanted any more.

Bell says that she thinks the other schools have worse problems with hazing. Bell’s friend was pledging for a fraternity in SUNY Stony Brook where he was tied to railroad tracks and got loose. The point of this “tradition” was to trust that the brothers would always be there to untie the pledge.

Yesenia Ramirez, 20, a junior physiology and pre-sident of Chi Upsilon Sigma, pledged her second semester of college. Ramirez said hazing is not a problem on this campus because of the regulations the school applies. and anyone who wants to undergo this process is protected.

Ramirez says that hazing should not be a problem because over all a person needs to stick to their own morals regardless. “You have to look at it this way, would you let someone do something to you while you are “pledging” that you would not normally tolerate?

Other events scheduled at SUNY New Paltz for National Hazing Prevention Week included a candle light vigil which took place on Wednesday, Sept. 26 and a day-long retreat called “Crossing the Line,” planned for Friday, Sept. 28.

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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