Hazing News

Why Hazing Will Always Be a Problem…unless a paradigm shift occurs

Here is my newest article.  Moderator Hank Nuwer in Madrid, Spain this week.

Note: Louisiana University President F. King Alexander failed to respond to requests for an interview regarding the high-alcohol deaths of students Max Gruver and Ben Wynne.

Brief excerpt follows:

This fall has seen another tragic death due to hazing. Maxwell Gruver, an 18-year-old Phi Delta Theta pledge at Louisiana State University, died hours after participating in a mock quiz designed to get pledges disturbingly drunk – fast. Charges have been brought against 10 fraternity members – one with a negligent homicide charge.

Gruver participated in the facetiously named “Bible Study” quiz, taking a snort of 190-proof alcohol each time he gave a wrong answer to questions about Phi Delta Theta’s history – a drinking game associated with prior fraternity deaths at several universities.

It is true that fraternities, bands and team sports provide a welcoming atmosphere for students who value the support and mentorship of older peers. They contribute to school spirit, provide student leaders and produce loyal, generous alumni. However, as I’ve often seen in the 40 years since publishing my first research on hazing in collegiate groups, this bonding process can exact a price.

Data I’ve collected for my latest book, “Hazing: Destoying Young Lives,”demonstrate that since 1954, with the exclusion of the year 1958, there has been at least one hazing death per year in U.S. colleges and secondary schools. Two deaths occurred prior to 1930 in elementary schools. The vast majority, however, have been in fraternities.

So why does hazing happen in the first place? And how can these unintentional homicides be prevented?

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. 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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