So what’s behind the current fraternity hazing incidents on school campuses nationwide?


Alcohol. Peer stress. A craving to affix a bunch.

Combined, they could be a deadly combine for school college students, as seen in current weeks with a rash of what authorities describe as hazing-related deaths at universities nationwide. In flip, the incidents have left college, native elected officers and fraternities racing to behave swiftly to stop further deaths.

For years, college communities have grappled with the way to fight hazing. Greek life has been suspended and states have applied anti-hazing legal guidelines. Even so, hazing has continued.

Here’s a few of what has taken place in current weeks on school campuses.

It centered on the dying of a Pi Kappa Phi pledge.

On Nov. three, police in Tallahbadee obtained a name about an unresponsive man at a home lower than a mile from campus. When police arrived, they discovered Andrew Coffey lifeless.

Coffey, 20, was a junior at Florida State who majored in civil engineering and was a Pi Kappa Phi pledge. Police suspect alcohol performed a task in his dying.

The investigation is ongoing, however in response to Coffey’s dying, Florida State suspended all 54 fraternities and sororities on campus. The college additionally banned alcohol at pupil occasions, which incorporates these run by greater than 700 organizations outdoors the Greek group.

“For this suspension to end, there will need to be a new normal for Greek life at the university,” Florida State President John Thrasher stated in an announcement on Nov. 6. “There must be a new culture, and our students must be full participants in creating it.”

In 2012, Pi Kappa Phi’s nationwide workplace sanctioned the FSU chapter for hazing-related actions related to alcohol.

And didn’t one thing related occur lately at Texas State University?

Matthew Ellis, 20, a Phi Kappa Psi pledge, attended a fraternity occasion on Sunday night time and was discovered unresponsive at an off-campus residence the subsequent morning.

Ellis, a sophomore enterprise main on the college, is believed to have died on the residence from alcohol-related causes, in accordance with native legislation enforcement.

Like Florida State, officers at Texas State, positioned in San Marcos, about 30 miles south of Austin, acted shortly. They suspended all 32 sororities and fraternities on campus.

Denise Trauth, the president of Texas State, stated the suspension would stay in impact “until a thorough review of the Greek affairs system is completed.”

Recent incidents involving alcohol, however no deaths, on the University of Michigan and Montana State University additionally led to suspensions of some or all Greek life on the universities.

Centre County, Pa., Dist. Atty. Stacy Parks Miller, left, announces findings from an investigation into the death of Penn State University fraternity pledge Tim Piazza, shown at right.
Centre County, Pa., Dist. Atty. Stacy Parks Miller, left, publicizes findings from an investigation into the dying of Penn State University fraternity pledge Tim Piazza, proven at proper. Abby Drey / Associated Press

Have hazing-related dying led to prison fees?

While no fees have been filed in reference to the deaths of Coffey and Ellis, a number of college students have been charged in current weeks in reference to a previous hazing-related incident.

In February, Tim Piazza, 19, died after consuming 18 drinks in lower than 90 minutes at a celebration close to the campus of Penn State University, in accordance with native legislation enforcement. Piazza was a Beta Theta Pi pledge.

This month, prosecutors in Centre County, Pa., introduced greater than a dozen former members of the fraternity would face fees that span from involuntary manslaughter to aggravated badault.

Last month, 10 former and present Louisiana State University college students had been arrested on misdemeanor hazing fees within the dying of Maxwell Gruver, 18. Gruver was attempting to affix Phi Delta Theta and died after consuming a lot that his blood-alcohol content material was greater than six instances the authorized restrict for driving.

Is hazing restricted to Greek life?

It’s related to a variety of teams — the navy, sports activities and school marching bands, to call a couple of.

The dying of Robert Champion, a member of the Florid​​​​​​​a A&M marching band, is among the many most high-profile hazing deaths in recent times that didn’t end result from alcohol.

Champion, 26, died in 2011 after a hazing ritual by which he was crushed by fellow band members aboard a college bus after a soccer sport in Orlando, Fla.

Three of his bandmates had been convicted of manslaughter.

Robert Champion, 26, a drum major in Florida A&M University's Marching 100 band, was killed in a hazing ritual in November 2011
Robert Champion, 26, a drum main in Florida A&M University’s Marching 100 band, was killed in a hazing ritual in November 2011 Associated Press

So what number of hazing deaths occur annually?

There are not any official statistics or a central database that information hazing-related deaths nationwide. But Hank Nuwer, a journalism professor at Franklin College in Indiana, has studied hazing because the 1970s.

According to his statistics, at the very least one particular person has died annually from a hazing-related incident since 1959 within the United States and Canada. Most of the deaths have occurred amongst fraternities and have resulted from alcohol.

What has been executed to stop hazing?

All however six states — Alaska, Montana, New Mexico, Hawaii, Wyoming and South Dakota — have enacted legal guidelines to deal with hazing, in accordance with, a nonprofit group. The legal guidelines fluctuate, however in lots of states, hazing may end up in prison fees.

In California, for instance, when hazing happens however doesn’t really lead to severe bodily harm to an individual, the crime of hazing is a misdemeanor. When severe bodily harm happens, it’s a felony.

Greek organizations have taken motion, too.

In response to current hazing-related deaths related to fraternities, Sigma Phi Epsilon introduced that it has adopted a substance-free coverage for all of its 215 chapters nationwide.

“We believe these steps are necessary to accomplish our mission of promoting academic excellence and empowering our 14,000 young men to lead with integrity, not just now, but for the rest of their lives,” stated Sigma Phi Epsilon CEO Brian Warren. Over the years, nationwide chapters for numerous fraternities and sororities, together with universities, have sought to implement guidelines to discourage hazing.

Emily Pualwan, govt director of the nonprofit, stated her group has helped advise universities nationwide about finest practices in educating college students on hazing. She stated this consists of serving to college students perceive there are legal guidelines towards hazing.

Each 12 months, the National Collegiate Athletic Assn. fingers out pamphlets to all of its school athletes that warn towards hazing. The pamphlet particulars “hazing vs. team building” and the way hazing “humiliates and degrades, tears down individuals” and might create “lifelong nightmares.”

Not all hazing is life-threatening. Isn’t hazing to be anticipated in school?

Pualwan says no. “Students need to know this isn’t some fun thing that’s a part of college life,” she stated. “Even hazing that does not physically hurt someone can even have lasting ramifications for young people.”

“This is not a new problem,” Pualwan added. “Hazing goes back decades. But now there are laws on the books to address the problem and hopefully deter this from happening.”

Moreover, nationwide chapters for fraternities and sororities, together with universities, have sought to implement guidelines to discourage hazing.

Pualwan stated there isn’t a actual rationalization behind the current outbreak of hazing-related deaths.

“It’s the fall of the year and pledge season,” she stated. “Unfortunately, these things are going to happen. … We have got to continue educating students.”

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Twitter: @kurtisalee

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