According to the West Virginia student newspaper, WVU Kappa Sigma (Gamma Phi Chapter) pledge may have been participating in Big-Little Night, a benign event usually unless there is a traditional expectation that there will be a bottle exchange or “challenge to drink” with the expectation that the pledge will get wildly intoxicated. In that case, the line into a situation of criminal or perhaps non-criminal (depending on state statute) hazing has been crossed. Almost always, if a death occur, authorities will investigate the chapter treasurer and president, as well as the big brother, to see who furnished alcohol to an under-aged prospective member. At this stage, information is to scant to call this a hazing death.
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 new book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press. He is married to Malgorzata Wroblewska Nuwer of Warsaw, Poland and Fairbanks, Alaska. Nuwer, former columnist for the Greenville (Ohio)Early Bird, finished a stint as managing editor of the Celina Daily Standard to accept a new position as 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.