Hazing on the Rise on College Campuses

This week officials at Louisiana State University announced that eight students and fraternity members of Phi Delta Theta, and two others, will be arrested for misdemeanor hazing of a pledge at the fraternity; one man will also be charged with negligent homicide.

Hazing is defined as acting on initiation rituals, which can be humiliating or dangerous, expected of college students wanting to join a sorority or fraternity, including excessive drinking. Misdemeanor hazing involves dangerous behavior and a gross disregard for the safety of another — in this case, a fellow student.

The victim was left on a sofa during a party at the fraternity house for many hours. He died later at the hospital due to his “highly elevated” blood alcohol level. The fraternity’s chapter was closed after the student’s death. The student’s death was a result of his hazing.

However, despite the well-known risks, hazing in college fraternities remains a common occurrence on campuses, especially directed at underage students. In addition to charges of misdemeanor hazing, this behavior can lead to binge drinking, which in turn can lead to academic problems and:

  • Assaults, including sexual assaults and unsafe sex
  • Property damage
  • Charges of drinking under the influence (DUI), when BAC is lower than .08 percent or the driver is using drugs, or drinking while intoxicated (DWI), when BAC is at .08 percent or higher

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, a 2014 survey on college students aged 18-22 found that nearly 60 percent drank alcohol in the past month and almost two out of three of binge drank. Binge drinking is defined as excessive drinking bringing one’s blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, levels to 0.08 g/dL. This usually occurs after drinking five drinks for men and four drinks for women in two hours.

If you or your loved ones have been involved in an injury in New York City due to hazing or a drunk driving accident, please contact Goldstein and Bashner to discuss your next steps. We can help victims of drunk driving accidents understand your legal options.

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