Hazing scandals bring issue back into spotlight

Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity at Dartmouth
In this photo taken Monday March 12, 2012, students leave the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity on the Dartmouth College campus in Hanover, N.H. More than a quarter of the fraternity's membership has been accused by the school's judicial council of hazing after a former member's public airing of what he says he experienced as a pledge in 2009, including being forced to swim in a kiddie pool of vomit and other bodily fluids.
Jim Cole/AP

Hazing is commonplace in colleges and high schools across the country, and many members of sports teams and Greek life join these groups expecting to be hazed.

But since 1970, there has been at least one death a year from hazing and many feel that the issue goes beyond a fun initiation. Recent events at Binghamton University, Boston University and Dartmouth prompted calls for federal laws to protect students from a dangerous and damaging tradition.

Hank Nuwer, a professor of journalism at Franklin College and the author of a number of books on hazing, will join The Daily Circuit Friday to discuss hazing.

"Many kids say that you should expect to be hazed, he said. "I interviewed someone who played for the Phillies and he was amazed that he hadn't been hazed there because he'd been hazed in every level before that, college and high school and everywhere else."

Susan Lipkins, a psychologist and the author of "Preventing Hazing," will also join the discussion. Hazing is not just male centric, she said.

"Women and girls are hazed just as much as boys," she said. "Boys are more physical; girls are more psychological in their hazing."

Create a More Connected Minnesota

MPR News is your trusted resource for the news you need. With your support, MPR News brings accessible, courageous journalism and authentic conversation to everyone - free of paywalls and barriers. Your gift makes a difference.