Fraternity Hazing Deaths

Liliana Henriksson, Staff Writer

After multiple deaths of fraternity pledges in just this year, it has started the trail for re-examining Greek Life at colleges nationally. Colleges have struggled long and hard to combat hazing and alcohol abuse, but are still trying to find ways to continue these organizations. Hazing is illegal, causing many fraternities to do it under the radar of authorities.
One of the most notable deaths was Timothy Piazza, Beta Theta Pi pledge.

Daily Mail
Timothy Piazza is the Penn State pledge who passed away due to hazing.

Although it was an unfortunate event, the death of this pledge sparked change at Penn State University. Piazza died at the age of nineteen, after being given eighteen drinks in less than an hour and a half. Due to his inebriated state, he fell down a flight of stairs and suffered many traumatic injuries. No one sought medical attention for him until the following morning, when it was too late to save him. As a result, the university suspended all fraternity activities. Everything is being monitored not by the fraternity’s council, but by the university itself as the university wants to take these issues head-on. The university tightened restrictions on Greek social events and the recruiting process and permanently banned Beta Theta Pi. More than two dozen members face charges due to Piazza’s death. This is a death that many will never forget all at the cause of hazing and young adults not doing the right thing when something bad happens.
Maxwell Gruver was only eighteen when he faced the perils of pledge hazing at Louisiana State University. He died after consuming significant amounts of 190-proof liquor, as part of a hazing ritual. It was only after his death that the university stepped in to put tighter restrictions on the fraternity, The President suspended all Greek activities, but the constraints haven’t been as strict in previous years since the formation of the Task Force on Greek Life which supervises the culture and the environment of the campus. Being proactive about these occurrences is what will reduce the pledge hazing deaths because nothing can be permanently banned, so forming organizations to spread campus awareness as well as giving students the opportunity to move in the right direction: away from hazing. Although the most authorities know hazing is going on, they don’t have proof to stop it. On top of that, some authorities know and choose to ignore it unless something happens which is not the way they should be handling hazing.

It shouldn’t be the deaths of young teenagers that drive universities to stop fraternity pledge hazing deaths; it should be an ongoing fight that pushes for reform. However, many university leaders have looked into why long-lasting improvement is so challenging. Although schools are trying to be proactive about this problem by mandating anti-hazing workshops and limiting the quota on alcohol, there are still tragedies that continue to occur. One of the reasons why it is difficult to stop these hazing deaths is because of how notable fraternities are. The earliest fraternities became campus institutions in the early 1800s and were founded by young men who rebelled against the strict, religious structures of their schools. The first fraternities hosted debates and encouraged members to write essays, while also providing a comfortable social environment that allowed smoking and of course, drinking. Fraternities became an inextricable part of the university experience, which is why it is almost impossible to disband something with such deep roots.
Although hazing is terrible and causing deaths, Greek life is still something we should continue to do without the hazing. We need to go back to the old times when Greek life was about making connections, finding a family, and making lifelong friends that you will never forget. You can join a fraternity and have fun without hazing there are so many events and other social gatherings that greek life people do to make it a fun experience. If we fix the system and put an end to the hazing, we can start fresh. We need to make apparent the dangers of hazing in a productive way. Just telling these young adults that hazing is bad is not going to work. Once we figure this out Greek life will begin to have a better future.
Since these times, fraternities have promised eager students the chance to form life-long relationships and the chance to be a part of the social scene. However, one of the leading issues with Greek life is the initiation. Members have been forced to chug hard alcohol, endure physical challenges while blindfolded, and endure sleep deprivation. This risky behavior shouldn’t be condoned, as it has been proved that these activities can drastically change the lives of any individual. If this does not change, Greek life soon at all colleges will be ending soon. We can not let any more deaths happen, and if we don’t harden down on the rules now, there will not be a good future for Greek life.

Liliana Henriksson, Caitlyn Reap, Hanna Raus, and Hannah Deshotel