“Take Action!” Exhibit Honors Client for His Courage

Posted on April 20, 2016 by Aaron J. Freiwald

The Go for Broke National Education Center is a Los Angeles museum that tells the story of the brave Japanese-Americans who fought in WWII, even while their families were locked up in internment camps. This group of soldiers were among the bravest and most decorated in American history.

The Go for Broke National Education center has opened a new exhibit called “Take Action!” sharing modern stories of courage and determination. Among the fifteen featured stories is our client, James Vivenzio, who is currently taking Penn State to court over their failure to support him as he attempted to battle hazing.

Vivenzio was subjected to vicious hazing as a pledge to the Kappa Delta Rho fraternity at Penn State University. The hazing included physical assault like cigarette burns, force feedings, branding, and binge drinking until vomiting, as well as psychological abuse like lineups and bullying.

In January 2015, James brought evidence to police about an invitation-only Facebook site that was used by KDR members to post photos of female students naked, unconscious and, in some cases, in the act of being sexually assaulted. This Facebook site was also used to facilitate hazing by enabling instantaneous communication with the pledges and to humiliate, harass and beckon the pledges on a 24/7 basis.

As a result of extreme hazing at KDR, Plaintiff Vivenzio failed out after his freshman year, entered rehabilitation and therapy programs for alcohol abuse, and was treated for post-traumatic stress from the hazing.

Now, Vivenzio hopes his case will help to prevent such brutal hazing from happening to others. Penn State should be held responsible for failing to uphold its “zero tolerance” policy on hazing. We have been inspired by Vivenzio’s bravery in standing against the “bro code”. On the Go for Broke National Education Center’s “Take Action!” exhibit, his story is just one of many that convey a powerful message of empowerment.