Hazing Update, National Hazing Prevention Week

Posted on October 6, 2017 by Aaron J. Freiwald

Predictably, there were many feel-good news stories during the third week of September in honor of National Hazing Prevention Week.  Colleges and Universities holding meetings.  Students participating in rallies.  PR Departments submitting stories about schools like Ole Miss and their efforts to curb dangerous fraternity hazing rituals, especially those involving excessive alcohol consumption.

Just as predictably, all of these efforts turn out to be window-dressing.

A student died at LSU following a night of hazing-related excessive drinking.  A football player at Billy Graham’s alma mater, Wheaton College, was horribly abused from hazing, leading to the arrest of five of his teammates.  It goes on and on.

Just in the last few days:

  • Southern Methodist University suspended its Kappa Alpha chapter for hazing that included paddling and forcing recruits to wear clothes covered in vomit
  • Ole Miss announced that four Greek organizations are under investigation for hazing
  • A former OklahomaU student filed suit alleging serious bodily injuries from fraternity hazing that he endured.

Even Penn State, which has been the subject of a number of high-profile hazing cases, such as the Tim Piazza death case, announced it was suspending yet another fraternity, Delta Tau Delta, after an 18-year old pledge was found on the street, unconscious from excessive drinking.

The news coverage, now this week including major articles in national publications such as Vanity Fair and The Atlantic, reveal more and more gruesome details about the Piazza case and the extent of Penn State’s knowledge and complicity in fraternity hazing.

In a recent episode of “Case In Point”, a feature of our podcast “Good Law | Bad Law” (found below) I talk about the need for real leadership at the highest levels of our colleges and universities as the key to any real change.


What else do we need to know about hazing?  How many more of our children are going to get hurt?  Are fraternities going to have to be banned altogether before meaningful change can take place?  How is this OK?