Hazing on the Rise

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In the past few months, the national spotlight has shone on several college hazing cases that had tragic outcomes for the victims and their families. Investigations into the deaths of hazing victims have led to criminal charges filed in the following cases:

  • New charges were recently filed against 12 members of a Penn State fraternity in the death of Tim Piazza. The 19-year-old died last February at a pledge event where he sustained severe injuries after falling down a flight of stairs. Five defendants have been charged with manslaughter. Other charges include assault, reckless endangerment, giving alcohol to minors, hazing and tampering with evidence.
  • Ten members of a Louisiana State University fraternity have been charged with hazing in connection with the September death of 18-year-old Maxwell Gruver, who died from acute alcohol intoxication. Prosecutors say the defendants made pledges drink shots of alcohol if they failed to answer quiz answers correctly. The victim’s blood alcohol level when he died was .495.

Despite the known dangers – and the illegality of it – students continue to put other students through hazing initiations. Just this past weekend, Ohio State University suspended all fraternity activities after it was discovered that almost a dozen fraternities were violating the school’s hazing and alcohol policies.

This follows similar suspensions last week for fraternities at Texas State University and the University of Michigan. Florida State University has also suspended all fraternity activities as it investigates the death of a 20-year-old fraternity pledge earlier this month.

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