Razing Hazing

by Susy Smothers
Razing Hazing
Operator: Nine-one-one. What is your emergency?
Caller: Yeah, we have someone down that’s not breathing
Operator: Okay. Is this person with you at 811 Rio Chico?
Caller [frantically]: Yeah. Yeah. Exactly! Yeah.
Operator: Do you know why?
Caller: Uh, I think he’s been drinking too much. We need help,
right now.
Operator: Is there somebody there that can—
Caller: —Yeah, we got plenty of people here—
Operator: —that could stay on the line and talk to the
Caller: Um, sure. Uh, let me get those guys that are out there
trying to deal with him, ’cause he’s all—
Operator: If you could get the phone to them, and I’ll transfer you
over, okay?
(Voices in the background on the caller’s end of the line
begin shouting, terrified, as if the emergency has suddenly
escalated to a new, more critical stage. Someone is giving
frantic, desperate commands, which cannot be understood.)
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Caller: What’s wrong?
Voices: Hey, hey, hey! He’s—Fuck, he’s going! He’s going
[to die] right now!
Operator: Okay, listen to me. The fire and the paramedics
are on the way.
Caller: Okay.
Operator: If [there is] somebody that can calm down and
listen to instructions on how to help that person, I want
you to put them on the phone. Is that person you?
Caller: Okay. Okay. Tell me what to do here.
Operator: Okay. You stay on the line. I’m going to transfer
you over, okay?
Voices in Background: One, two, three, four, five. (They are
maybe trying CPR or some other type of artificial
(Dial tone and dialing beeps as the call is transferred to
the rescue team.)
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Operator: Stay with me, okay? Stay with me. I’m going to tell them on
the phone. I’m going to talk first, and then they’ll tell you what to
do. (Sound of a phone ringing on the line.) They’re going to be
there within just two minutes or so. You’re doing okay.
Emergency team member answers: Communications. . . . Okay, what’s
going on there, guy?
Caller: Um, he’s not breathing right now. He’s been passed out right
—Oh, my God. It’s not working, Dude.
—Get him up! Get him up!
—Get him over to the bed!
—There’s no way.
—Get him up! Come on!
Emergency: Okay. Sir? Listen to me, okay?
—Does someone know first aid in here?
—I’ve been doing it! I’ve been doing it! It’s not working, okay?
—What’s wrong?
(The voices grow louder in the background, as if people are moving
about, closer to the phone, or the caller is carrying the phone closer
to the voices. He has not answered the emergency worker. There is
a sense of rising panic in the voices.)
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Emergency: Sir! You need to have everybody calm down in the
background, right down.
Caller: Everybody? Shhhhh!
Voices (overlapping):
—Okay. What’s up? What’s up?
—No, no, no.
—I’m certified. Let me in. I’m certified. Let me in. Hold on. You go
like this.
Caller: Okay. Hold on. Shhhh.
Emergency: You need to have everyone calm down. Listen. . . . In
order for me to help you, you’re going to have to have
everybody calm down.
Caller: Everybody calm down. (The voices get quieter. Only a few
are talking, and they’re not shouting.) Okay?
Emergency: All right. What has he been doing to cause him to not
Caller: I think he’s been, he’s been drinking a lot.
(Now come many other undistinguishable shouts and rhythmic
noises, which might be counting again, as if they are trying fast
CPR or something in a desperate manner; all of this overlaps
the phone conversation.)
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—You motherfucker! I’m certified. You’ve got to—
—(angry wail) I’m certified.
Emergency: . . . You need to have those people
in the background . . . get out of the room, so
I can help you.
Caller: Okay. Hey! Everybody out! Everybody
out! Out! Out! Out! (They keep shouting,
talking—everyone at once.) Out! Out! (They
are not going.) Get out! Out!
(The line goes dead. The rescue team
arrives to find Adrian dead.)
Razing Hazing
—911 emergency call excerpt as printed by noted hazing expert,
Hank Nuwer, 2004, in his book, The Hazing Reader.
Victim: Adrian Heideman
Location: California State University, Chico, Pi Kappa Phi house
Time: 1:21 A.M., October 7, 2000
“Ten days earlier, I had given a talk on hazing at Chico State. Mike
Heideman, Adrian’s father, later told me, ‘I think Adrian may
have attended your talk at Chico State. My understanding is that
everyone who rushed fraternities was required to attend. There
is also a note in Adrian’s day planner mentioning a talk. . . .’”
—Hank Nuwer
So, people are talking about
hazing, but is anyone
really listening?
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Listen to this!
Razing Hazing
Hazing is frequently regarded as a commonplace, fun, and
harmless behavior without any consequences. But, the
consequences are very real and serious. High school and
college-aged students feel a certain sense of immunity;
“nothing bad will happen to me.”
• A Powder Puff football game at Glenbrook North High School,
Chicago, gets out of hand when several girls are videotaped
pelting younger girls with vile substances such as feces and fish
entrails, leaving five juniors needing to seek medical treatment.
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University of Michigan student, Evan Loomis, is hospitalized with
kidney failure after being deprived of food and water during a
three-day fraternity initiation rite.
Plattsburgh State University of New York student, Walter Dean
Jennings, 18, dies following ten days of “water torture,” or the
drinking of a profuse amount of fluids.
• 18-year-old University of Texas student, Phanta “Jack”
Phoummarath dies of alcohol poisoning related to hazing
during his fraternity’s “Hell Weekend.”
• Florida A&M University student, Marcus Jones, is seriously
injured when blindfolded and beaten with canes and boxing
gloves during a fraternity-hazing incident.
• Rider University student, Gary DeVercelly Jr. dies due to
hazing related alcohol poisoning.
After all of these tragic injuries and deaths, why are things
not different?
Why does the problem continue despite efforts to educate
on the dangers of hazing?
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Hazing’s Deeply
Embedded Roots
This widespread practice threatens all school
organizations—fraternities and sororities,
athletic teams, clubs, the band, and many
others—beginning in middle school and
carrying over through high school, college,
and into the workforce.
There is a long-standing culture of acceptance
and secrecy surrounding hazing; it is often
a hidden campus crime that thrives in
secrecy, making it a heated and
controversial topic.
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Hazing True/False
Indicate if you believe the following are hazing behaviors:
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Having certain items always in one’s possession.
Wearing apparel that is embarrassing.
Acting like an animal or other object.
Public or private nudity.
Shaving one’s head or body hair.
Engaging in public stunts.
Providing personal errands or provide personal service.
Being expected to not talk for periods of time.
Waking up in the middle of the night.
Pushing, shoving, tackling, or any other act that may cause harm.
Making prank calls or harass others.
Performing calisthenics not related to a sport.
Destroying, defacing, or stealing property.
Drinking large amounts of a non-alcoholic beverage such as water.
These behaviors are ALL actual hazing behaviors
taken from the West Chester University Anti-Hazing
Policy, in order to illustrate that many people
participate in hazing behaviors, yet don’t view their
behavior as hazing.
Little H
“Subtle Hazing”
• Silence Periods
• Socially Isolating
new members
• Expecting Certain
items to always
be in one’s
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Big H
anguish or
• Verbal abuse
• Sleep Deprivation
“Violent Hazing”
• Forced Drinking
• Abductions/kidnaps
Hazing Defined
Hazing is any activity expected of someone joining or
participating in a group that humiliates, degrades,
abuses, or endangers them regardless of a person’s
willingness to participate.
What it boils down to:
• Hazing is illegal in 44 states, including
Pennsylvania where it is considered to be a
misdemeanor of the third degree.
• Both parties are legally responsible—
those who haze, as well as witnesses.
• Hazing begins in middle and high school.
• Hazing is not just a Greek problem.
All adults—advisors, coaches, and parents—educators
and non-educators alike—must share the
responsibility when hazing occurs.
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High School Hazing
The Alfred University/NCAA 1999 survey indicated that
approximately 1.5 million high school students are
hazed every year and about half of those victims are
College Hazing
West Chester University participated in the extensive
national study, Hazing in View: College Students at
Risk, Allan & Madden, 2008.
• One in five students reported that they had
been hazed; 55% of college students in clubs,
teams, and organizations experience hazing.
• 25% of staff, faculty members, or coaches
know about or stand witness to hazing within
their organization; 40% of students who
reported being involved in hazing behaviors
reported that a coach or organization advisor
was aware of the activity; 25% of the
behaviors occurred on-campus in a public
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• Alcohol consumption, humiliation,
isolation, sleep-deprivation, and sex acts
are hazing practices common across
types of student group.
• Students recognize hazing as part of the
campus culture; 69% of students who
belonged to a student activity reported
they were aware of hazing activities
occurring in student organizations other
than their own.
• Students report limited exposure to
hazing prevention efforts that extend
beyond a “hazing is not tolerated”
• 47% of students come to college having
experienced hazing.
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Why endure hazing?
Many people perceive positive, rather than negative
outcomes of hazing, citing acceptance, unity, tradition,
camaraderie, desire for belonging, status, and bonding, as
reasons for hazing, yet in actuality, hazing has been found
to reduce group cohesion/unity and create anger, angst,
and the desire for revenge amongst those who have been
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In many cases, people who appear to be willing
participants are in fact not—peer pressure and
groupthink, or being influenced by a desire to belong in
a way that one may not be influenced outside of the
group, drives hazing participation, not free will.
Coercion is a powerful force that negates true consent;
oftentimes forcing one to prove one’s
self/worth/manhood/womanhood by going along with
the group at the expense of one’s self.
Suggesting, rather than requiring that one partake in
hazing behaviors does not imply voluntary, intentional
Hazed students believe that they are
not at risk sharing a common
“I went through it,”
“it’s tradition,”
“no one has been hurt before.”
Alleged time-honored traditions are oftentimes new and
those who experienced the roughest hazing
frequently become the meanest hazers—in an effort
to validate their experience it often becomes more
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Conducting positive and acceptable
initiation ceremonies/ team building
How can bonding occur in socially and personally
constructive, positive, and useful ways?
Group brainstorm of pro-social behaviors.
Ex) Work together on a community service project; visit a ropes course;
outdoor education activities; plan special events for the entire group to
get together for dinner, a movie, etc.; offer study/ organization methods
seminars; build awareness of chapter history; use college resources for
seminars on resume building, job interview skills, etc. (taken from
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Align group membership behavior with the purpose and
values of your organization/team. All acts must be
purposeful and meaningful.
Develop critical thinking skills needed to use good
If you have to ask if it’s hazing, it is.
If in doubt, call your advisor/coach/national office.
If you won’t pick up the phone, you have your
answer. Don’t B.S. yourself.
If you haze, you have low self-esteem.
If you allow hazing to occur, you are a ‘hazing
Failure to stop hazing will result in death. . .
-Will Keim, Ph.D., The Power of Caring
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Why do people haze?
For all of the wrong reasons
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Beliefs about masculinity/gender
Groupthink or peer-pressure
Need for self-esteem
Need to fit in
Rites of passage
Need for power and control
Society is increasingly becoming more
sexual and violent, as do our actions
Change Takes Courage
Razing Hazing
Allan & Madden’s 2008 study found that in 95% of the
cases where students identified their experience as
hazing, they did not report the events to campus
Peer pressure is great and it takes courage to take a
stand against hazing.
Everyone has a role in standing up to hazing—those
who are hazed as well as bystanders. The bystander
model takes courage as; “Empowering bystanders—
including victims—to confront and report hazing, is our
best chance to eliminate it” (Maxwell, 2008).
Share in a willingness to stand up together and say,
this is wrong!
Statement of
Razing Hazing
Please continue to discuss this issue by
creating a statement of awareness with your
Adrian Heideman can no longer talk about this
or any other issue, but you can make your voice
be heard in your organization’s stance against
Where do I go if
I am hazed or
witness hazing?
Advisor or Coach
RA—Resident Advisor
RD—Resident Director
Contact the chapter’s national organization
Counseling Center
Wellness Center
Campus Safety
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