On a recent episode of CSI shown here in the UK, one of the cases concerned a lad who had died as part of an initiation rite at a college fraternity.
The process was referred to as ‘hazing’, and it was claimed that those who engaged in it faced up to 6 months in jail (or maybe more?) and that it was technically illegal.
Can anyone explain exactly what is meant by ‘hazing’, and the sorts of trials it involves, and whether or not (if it is indeed illegal) anyone has ever been convicted and sentanced as a result?
An info site from Stop Hazing.org.
“Any action taken or situation created, intentionally, whether on or off fraternity premises, to produce mental or physical discomfort, embarrassment, harassment, or ridicule. Such activities may include but are not limited to the following: use of alcohol; paddling in any form; creation of excessive fatigue; physical and psychological shocks; quests, treasure hunts, scavenger hunts, road trips or any other such activities carried on outside or inside of the confines of the chapter house; wearing of public apparel which is conspicuous and not normally in good taste; engaging in public stunts and buffoonery; morally degrading or humiliating games and activities; and any other activities which are not consistent with fraternal law, ritual or policy or the regulations and policies of the educational institution.”
Right now, there are a bunch of high school girls in Chicageo (or a suburb) on trial for “hazing.” Apparently there is an annual football game between the seniors and juniors that included hitting, kicking, rubbing feces, etc. (whatever etc. means behind rubbing feces).
Anyway this was videotaped and now there students are expelled and in court as well as a few parnets for providing alcohol.
I recommend Hank Nuwer’s book
Wrongs of Passage: Fraternities, Sororities, Hazing and Binge Drinking (1999). There are some pretty scary stories in there.
This book builds on Nuwer’s earlier work,
Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing (1990), which may be out of print now, but is available used.