Deaths by Greek Life

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Kalhan Rosenblatt with NBCNews reported on November 28, 2021 that a University of Nevada, Las Vegas, 20 year-old student died of brain injuries after he took part in a boxing match held by a fraternity.

A lawyer for the student’s family released a statement: “We will leave no stone unturned to determine how a 20-year-old ended up in a school-sanctioned amateur fight that cost him his life.”

Such a story about the death of a Greek student would be an anomaly. Many of the deaths that have occurred on campuses had been the result of “hazing.”

NBCNewsBen Kesslen wrote: “Since 2000, there have been more than 50 hazing-related deaths. The causes are varied — heatstroke, drowning, alcohol poisoning, head injury, asphyxia, cardiac arrest — but the tragedies almost always involve a common denominator: Greek life.”

Many of the deaths that Wikipedia had attributed to “hazing” have involved the misuse of alcohol, such as in the case of “an 18-year old pledge from Roswell, Georgia, [who] was taken to the hospital after an alleged drinking game hazing ritual known as ‘Bible Study’. He was pronounced dead the same day.”

The University of Alabama has had a strict policy against “hazing.” In spite of that, throughout the years hazing had persisted on campus.

In 2012, Ashley Chaffin wrote in The Crimson White, the student newspaper at the University of Alabama, about a “culture of hazing.” In 2012, WBRC/6‘s Brianne Denleyn reported that “the university had suspended all fraternity pledgeship activities after hazing allegations were made against 10 fraternities.”

In 2015‘s Jeremy Gray‘s article “University of Alabama hazing case: Students suffered burns, told to ‘man up,’ records state” provided details about a hazing incident that had involved pledges being told to stand in a cooler filled with ice.

A 2017 documentary “The Naked Truth” by Fusion TV featured the University of Alabama‘s Greek system. The film dealt with hazing and underage alcohol consumption.

The Crimson White‘s Madison McLean reported in 2019 that the “University of Alabama’s Greek community hosted an anti-hazing event in September called ‘Turning Tragedy into Progress.'”

My Imperfect Life‘s Danielle Valente on August 17, 2021, posted “Inside the dangers of sorority hazing” about the University of Alabama‘s Greek life that had included viral TikTok clips.

Cornell University Health’s “Alcohol & Hazing: Liquid Bonding,” stated: “While hazing does not necessarily involve alcohol use by either current or new members, alcohol consumption is often either a central or contributing element.”

Stetson University, in its “Facts and Myths,” stated that “82 percent of deaths from hazing involve alcohol.”

Tuscaloosa‘s City Council has routinely approved liquor licenses for Greek events. It may have seemed that it had bent over backwards so that a sorority field party could be held in November 12, 2021.

Any kind of idea about banning the Greek community from the University of Alabama campus had never been popular. The likelihood of significantly reducing underaged drinking had also always seemed to be an unreachable goal. (Alcohol sales to students may have been a significant revenue producer for the City of Tuscaloosa.)

Doubtlessly hazing involving alcohol abuse would remain a fixture of life in T-Town.


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