Hazing has become a major problem across high school and college campuses. Some people have reportedly committed suicide because of hazing. Victims of hazing are often discouraged from speaking out. Blowing the whistle can bring disaster to the group. And hazing is now against national fraternity and sorority policies. It’s also against the law. Any person who participates in hazing commits a misdemeanor of the third degree. And it can go farther than that. Some of the incidents that have happened in recent years are very serious. And students can go so far as committing criminal homicide.
A lot of the worst hazing involves emotional, physical, and even sexual abuse. Students take the hardest of drugs and do public sexual acts by force. Some of this would leave even seasoned S&M veterans blushing. “At least one student has died every year since 1970 because of hazing,” attorney Douglas Fierberg has stated. Much of the hazing is unfortunate. It’s a part of the ongoing culture of each organization. Many of these rituals have probably been going on for at least a decade. In the worse case scenario, sometimes things go too far. And ordinary rituals become national news. And here’s the paradox, these rituals are far from ordinary. Some of them are downright inhumane.
Here are 11 Disturbing Hazing Rituals That Actually Happen
11. Wrestle Mania At Kentucky Western University Frat House
Collin Craig of Kentucky Western has many stories of hazing during his fall semester in 2014. In a practice known as being “sung to,” upperclassmen forced freshman to chug beer. Everyone would tickle the drinker’s throat and hit them in the testicles. The college swimmer says he was also forced to wrestle his teammates for hours at a time. He was “choked to the point of passing out” and forced to strip to his underwear and put on a horse head mask.
A search warrant of “the party house” turned up five picture boards of nude or semi-nude people, many of which were in compromising positions. Craig states, “parties and hazing occurred each night. I was singled out, belittled, threatened, intimidated, and shunned.” He says his teammates, and even his coaches, encouraged him to keep his mouth shut.
10. The “Jubie” – Sexual Jabs With A Broomstick
At Jaunita High School in the state of Washington, five football students held a special needs student on the shower floor, yanked his pants down and jabbed him with a broomstick. The hazing practice is called “jubie,” a text message released in court revealed. The victim was pulled away in tears. Half an hour later, one of the perpetrators sent out a text saying, “I feel so bad now.”
A judge deemed the assault “part of the culture.” Attorneys say it was more football hazing than sexual assault. “Jubie” was a word meaning violating teammates with foreign objects. Of the five perpetrators, two or three of them had been through similar episodes. One of them was sleeping in his bunk at a football retreat when players tried to grab him in the dark. He says they tried to sexually assault him, but he fought it off. The special needs students wasn’t so lucky.
9. “Bulldogging” In Search Of Sacred Rock
Lenoir-Rhyne University’s Theta Chi pledge Harrison Kowiak died in 2009 during what was labeled as“Hell Week.” Theta Chi pledges were loaded into a truck and told to sit in the back blindfolded. After being driven to a North Carolina farm, they were told to find the “sacred fraternity rock.” First, they needed make it through 250 pound men. They called it “bulldogging.” Some played on the university’s football team. After a hard tackle, Harrison Kowiak fell to the ground. Upperclassmen told him to get up. He did, until he collapsed. After falling and striking his head on the ground, he suffered blunt force head trauma. The fraternity and 21 brothers were found responsible for his sudden death.
Other Theta Chi hazing activities included rummaging through dumpsters. Pledges were told to find balls with the fraternity’s name. Another was walking to the edge of a dam blindfolded. They were told to jump. And as they followed orders, the upperclassmen stopped them.
8. Water Intoxication Leads To Fatal Brain Swelling
On February 2, 2005, Matt Carrington died as the direct result of a hazing ritual. He was attempting to be initiated into a Chico State University fraternity named Chi Tau. The ritual dated back over 20 years at Chi Tau. Carrington and another pledge were forced to drink large amounts of water. They did push ups and answered trivia questions. They did calisthenics. And for hours, the two were interrogated and taunted. This all took place in a basement flooded with raw sewage. Fans blasted icy air on the pledges’ wet bodies. And as they drank out of a five-gallon jug of water, the jug was re-filled, over and over again. Matt Carrington began urinating and then vomited on himself. His brain started to swell, causing seizures and heart failure. Members of the fraternity delayed calling for help for over an hour. He later died from water intoxication.
7. “The Glass Ceiling” At Pi Delta Psi
Five or more members of Pi Delta Psi fraternity have been charged with 3rd degree murder in the December 2013 death of Michael Deng. When Michael arrived at the hospital, he was brain-dead, and on life support. It was a ritual of the fraternity called “the glass ceiling.” The pledge is to get through the line of brothers as fraternity members shove and take pledges down. Deng was blindfolded and hooded. While wearing a book bag weighing about 30 pounds, things got out of hand. Mike, known for his attitude, started to fight back as the “Bros” speared him. A brother took a 15-16 feet running start to spear Mike. He was knocked too hard to the ground and began sucking air as his body lay immobilized. And again, while he was on his back he was repeatedly assaulted. The cause of death was ruled a homicide due to blunt force to the head.
6. “Hootie Hoo” Sexual Assault At New Jersey High School
At a New Jersey High School, football players would bust into the locker room, blast music, and strip naked. Someone would yell, “Hootie Hoo!” as lights began flickering off and on. Freshmen would try to leave or pretend like they weren’t there. Freshman were pushed to the ground. Varsity boys would punch and kick. Not viciously, but hard. And there was a lot of butt-grabbing and “fingering.” No one’s sure if it was inside or outside the pants. They were often groped. Some freshman said they did not consider what happened to be all that serious. One freshman however, would be subject to enormous backlash for saying anything. One freshman said the backlash made him want to shoot himself.
5. Men of Honor Pledge Dies Trying To Swim Across A Deadly River
Marvell Edmondson drowned to his death while trying to cross the Appomattox River. It was the final step of the initiation hazing into the illegitimate fraternity connected to Virginia State University. Appomattox River is a popular destination for whitewater rafting and canoeing. And its waters are treacherous. Of the seven other students involved, 5 were pulled to shore. One student remained missing but was later found 200 yards downstream. At least three other people have died trying to swim across the Appomattox River since 2008. Marvell Edmondson may have fell into a sinkhole or a deeper spot somewhere in the river.
The illegitimate fraternity’s name was “Men of Honor.” A Virginia State official says “Men of Honor” is not a sanctioned club at the university, although the school was “aware” of the group. It’s been described as an “underground, shadow organization” which the university refuses to recognize.
4. “Crossing Bus C” At Florida A&M
Drum major Robert Champion collapsed and died in November 2011. Cause of death? Florida A&M’s hazing tradition known as “Crossing Bus C,” a 3-step process which ended aboard a parked bus, hours after a FAMU football game. During the final phase, Robert was struck repeatedly with fists and instruments. At least 15 other band members were involved. Robert soon became ill. After vomiting and having difficulty breathing, he fell unconscious.
It’s a ritual going back very far. “Some might say tradition killed Robert Champion. And there’s some truth to that,” said attorney Jeff Ashton. Robert’s death exposed an entire culture of hazing within the band. Leading to the resignation of both the band director and Florida A&M University’s president. It was also revealed Florida A&M had no internal controls to prevent, nor detect hazing. Robert’s parents received $1.1 million and a formal apology as a settlement.
3. Delta Sigma Theta – No Sleep
In recent years, hazing among woman has become even more grueling than what men go through. In 2010, sorority “Delta Sigma Theta” forced initiates to do many things. They held push-up positions and did wall sit ups for long periods of time. They were also told to stand on one leg and hold heavy bricks over their heads. Awesomely, they rubbed hot sauce on their lips and ate large raw onions. And for dinner, they consumed buckets of cottage cheese and buttermilk.
Victoria Carter and Briana Gather died in a car accident in 2010. And “Delta Lipsticks” had something to do with it. According to court documents. The driver of the vehicle was suffering from “excessive and overwhelming fatigue.” And also “sleep deprivation.” The night of their two deaths, just hours before, they prepared to take part in a “probate death march.” Apparently, they didn’t have many opportunities to sleep.
2. Unpadded Kenny Luong Dies During Frat Football Game
UCLA student Kenny Luong died in 2005 after one “brutal blitz.” As part of Lambda Phi Epsilon’s hazing rituals, there was a football game. It matched 10 pledges against approximately 40 upperclassmen. It was a rough, no-pads, no-helmets, tackling contest. Pledges described it as “a brutal mismatch designed to inflict pain.” After about two hours, only three “little bros” remained. Luong, playing quarterback, took a snap, and went down under a blitz. When he never got up, teammates took him to the sidelines. After five minutes, upperclassmen realized something was wrong and called an ambulance. Luong suffered a fatal head injury, dying in the hospital two days later.
Earlier, pledges competed in various vigorous hazings. These included closed-fist push ups on gravel, drinking two gallons of water in one sitting, and jumping in the air from standing-position and landing on their chests without using their hands to break falls.
1. Crawling Ritual In The Army Leads To Suicide
Nineteen-year-old Danny Chen suffered hazing by his fellow soldiers, resulting in his suicide on October 3, 2011. He was the only Chinese-American in his unit. They singled Chen out, on a daily basis, for six weeks. Using words like “gook”, “chink”, and “dragon lady” daily. They also assigned Chen excessive guard duty to the point of exhaustion as well as make him do push ups while holding water in his mouth and kicking him with their knees.
On September 27, 2011, a sergeant dragged Chen out of bed and over 49 feet of gravel. This left visible bruises and cuts on Chen’s back. Finally, on the day of Chen’s death, other soldiers forced him to crawl on gravel for over 330 feet. While crawling, he carried his equipment as they threw rocks at him. He was later found with a gunshot wound, laying in a guard tower in Afghanistan.