Hazing and Alcohol Abuse are Dangerous

Hazing by athletic teams and Greek (fraternity and sorority) organizations is often seen as a harmless passage rite. Unfortunately, it often results in emotional, psychological, and even physical harm. Tragically, it sometimes actually results in death.

Recognizing the harms caused by hazing, most states (about 43) have enacted anti-hazing laws. Many such laws only make hazing a low-grade misdemeanor, and many only criminalize hazing that causes severe physical injury. This perhaps results from the fact that society does not yet recognize the diversity and severity of harms that hazing can cause.

Forced and highly excessive alcohol consumption is a common feature of hazing and is but one of the reasons that we must take strong actions to prohibit hazing wherever it occurs. Colleges, Greek organizations, other membership organizations and athletic departments should all have and vigorously enforce policies prohibiting hazing.

Following a tragic hazing death of a Rider University student, a grand jury indicted three fraternity brothers and two Rider administrators in the needless death.

Students, coaches, administrators and others need to realize that hazing is completely unacceptable and can lead to severe civil or criminal justice consequences.

 

Reference:

  • Binge drinking on campus: Holding administrators accountable (editorial). Philadelphia Enquirer, August 7, 2007.
  • Doty, D. Enough is enough: The legal responsibility of public schools and universities to prohibit hazing 134 Ed. Law Rep. 423 (July 8, 1999).
  • Oja v. Theta Chi Fraternity, Inc., 667 N.Y.S.2d 650 (S. Ct. Tompkins County 1998).
  • Haben v. Anderson, 597 N.E.2d 655 (Ill. App. CT 1992).
  • Jones v. Kappa Alpha Order, Inc., 730 So.2d 203 (Ala. 1998).

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