Hazing News

What has to happen to prevent hazing deaths? Author Ricky Jones tells the Orlando Sentinel

Here is the link to the opinion column by Dr. Jones


We must engage it because lives are at stake, but talking about the culture of hazing among Greek-letter organizations and groups (such as the FAMU band) that mimic them is distasteful. This is so because Greeks, members of hazing bands and their advocates are so immersed in self-importance and group narcissism that they seem to believe the world revolves around them and their organizations.

When challenged, they rarely intelligently argue facts. Contrarily, they quickly sink to ad hominem attacks that do not merit the attention of sensible people. They usually don’t do so in person, but through the anonymity of the Internet, they puff their chests, blame injured and dead victims for choosing to be beaten, and brand anyone who opposes them and the cultures of their organizations as uninformed, not “real” members, haters or sellouts. Even death does not stop them.

FAMU is a sad case study of this toxic reality. This is the same school that had members of Kappa Alpha Psi jailed for hazing in 2007. Less than a month before Champion’s death, fellow FAMU band member Bria Hunter was hazed so badly that she suffered severe bruising, blood clots, and a broken thigh. This incident was reported to the university. Weeks before Champion was killed, 26 band members were suspended because of hazing by now-retired band director Julian White. Others at the university obviously knew about the suspensions.

With this and hazing incidents in the band spanning over a decade under consideration, how in the world is it possible that band activities were not shut down before Champion’s death? This is administrative neglect of the highest order.

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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