List of hazing deaths in the United States

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In 1905, Stuart Pierson was being initiated into Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity, at Kenyon College. The other students sent him to a railroad bridge, which they believed was not in use; however, an unscheduled train arrived, and Pierson was killed.

This is a list of hazing deaths in the United States. This is not an exhaustive list. An exact list is not available because there is no central system for tracking hazing deaths, and the role of hazing in some deaths is subject to disagreement. Inclusion in this list requires that the incident was described by the media as a hazing-related death. Incidents involving criminal or civil proceedings that did not find a definite link with hazing may still be included if they meet this criterion.

According to the National Collaborative for Hazing Research and Prevention at the University of Maine, hazing is defined as "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".[1] Although hazing is often associated with the activities that take place as a prerequisite for joining a group, it can also include activities that take place as an established member, such as the 2011 death of fraternity brother George Desdunes.

There has been at least one university hazing death each year from 1969 to 2021.[2] Over 200 university hazing deaths have occurred since 1838, with 40 deaths between 2007 and 2017 alone.[3] Alcohol poisoning is the biggest cause of death.[3]

18th and 19th century[edit]

Date of death Victim Organization Institution Cause of death Notes
1738 Daniel Rees Masonic Temple in Philadelphia Burns During a mock initiation, flaming liquid was thrown on him by Masons led by Evan Jones. He died within days, and Jones was found guilty for manslaughter and branded. Benjamin Franklin, a member of the group, appeared as a witness for the prosecution.[4][5]
1838 John Butler Groves Class hazing Franklin Seminary (Kentucky) According to family history records, Groves died in a hazing incident. No further details are available.[6]
1847 Jonathan D. Torrance Class hazing Amherst College Torrance left school after developing a severe illness that he attributed to upperclassmen soaking his sheets. He eventually died from this illness and Amherst president Edward Hitchcock attributed the death to hazing rituals, which were referred to as "freshman visitation".[6]
October 17, 1873 Mortimer N. Leggett Kappa Alpha Society Cornell University Injuries from fall Leggett was brought out into the woods at night as part of an initiation ceremony. He died after falling into a gorge while blindfolded. Two members who were guiding him also fell, but survived.[6][7][8]
September 19, 1885 Edward Turnbach Class hazing Unknown public school in Hazleton, Pennsylvania Kidney trauma He was made to run through a gauntlet of schoolmates in which they punched him with their fists. He was punched in the kidneys severely and died several days later.[9]
June 6, 1892 Wilkins Rustin Delta Kappa Epsilon Yale University Peritonitis A pledge was led blindfolded through the street during his fraternity initiation towards Moriarty's Cafe, a popular student hang-out. He was told to run and did so at top speed. He ran into a sharp carriage pole, injuring himself. He was rendered unconscious, but the injury was not thought to be serious at the time. He suffered an intestine rupture and died five days later of peritonitis.[6][10][11][12]
February 20, 1894 Henrietta Jackson Class hazing Cornell University Gassing The fatality was not a freshman, but a female cook who died when undergraduates misdirected chlorine gas into the kitchen as part of a hazing prank. The gas was intended to interrupt the Cornell freshman banquet.[6][13]
September 29, 1898 David C. Jones Class hazing Decatur High School (Decatur, Illinois) Spine trauma Jones was participating in a hazing custom on September 6 in which all the freshmen boys were put over the fence on the first day of school. There was a "lively" fight as well. Jones injured his spine severely and died at the end of the month.[14]
October 27, 1899 Edward Fairchild Berkeley Kappa Alpha Society Cornell University Drowning Berkeley was attempting to pin a piece of paper to a tree or bridge (accounts vary) when he fell into a canal and drowned. Members insisted that the errand was not a form of hazing and was merely meant to keep him occupied until his formal initiation later that day.[6][15]
November 22, 1899 Martin Bergen Class hazing Lawrenceville Academy (Lawrenceville, New Jersey) Peritonitis 12-year-old Bergen died following a hazing tradition called "piling" in which the freshmen boys are forced to pile on top of one another, ending in the upperclassmen jumping on the boys' abdomens with their knees. Bergen ended the session without issue aside from some soreness for 2–3 days. He developed peritonitis from internal injuries and died several days later.[16][17]


Date of death Victim Organization Institution
and location
Cause of death Notes
November 3, 1900 Thomas Finley Brown Class hazing Porter Military Academy
Charleston, South Carolina
Internal injuries 12-year-old Brown was forced to drop blindfolded into a swimming pool. He dropped approximately 12 ft (3.7 m) into the pool, which contained almost no water. He died from internal injuries.[18][19]
November 16, 1900 Hugh Chadwick Moore Class hazing Massachusetts Institute of Technology Neck trauma Moore died following the annual "Cane rush"—a tradition in which freshmen were given a special cane that the sophomores would attempt to steal during a scrap. After the pistol sounded to begin the rush, Moore grabbed hold of the cane, eventually finding himself at the bottom of the pile. He was asked a number of times if he was all right, which he answered in the affirmative. When the event ended, Moore was unresponsive and could not be resuscitated. It was determined that he died of fractures to the upper vertebrae of the neck.[20][21][22]
December 3, 1900 Oscar Booz Class hazing United States Military Academy
West Point, New York
Tuberculosis Booz began at West Point in June 1898 in good physical health. Four months later, he resigned due to health problems. He died in December 1900 of tuberculosis. During his long struggle with the illness, he blamed the illness on hazing he received at West Point in 1898, claiming he had hot sauce poured down his throat on three occasions as well as a number of other grueling hazing practices, such as brutal beatings and having hot wax poured on him in the night. His family claimed that scarring from the hot sauce made him more susceptible to the infection, causing his death. Among other things, Booz had claimed that his devotion to Christianity made him a target and that he was tormented for reading his Bible.[23][24]

The practice of hazing at West Point entered the national spotlight following his death. Congressional hearings investigated his death and the pattern of systemic hazing of freshmen and serious efforts were made to reform the system and end hazing at West Point.[25][26][27]

September 15, 1903 Ralph McBride Secret society "L. of S.S.B" Bluffton High School, Bluffton, Indiana Sepsis Fifteen-year-old McBride died five months after he was hazed roughly during the initiation into a high school secret society. Three other boys were hazed roughly at the same time, leading another of the boys' fathers to press charges for assault and battery against the boys. The other boys survived, but McBride developed sepsis and died following a high fever and delirium. Attempts were made to save his life by removing the necrotic bone of his leg, but it was unsuccessful. Ten students were tried for assault and battery but were acquitted, citing the lack of proof that the death was related to the hazing instead of an unrelated illness.[18][28][29][30]
November 8, 1903 Martin Loew Phi Psi Chi (Local dental fraternity) University of Maryland, Baltimore Shortly after being initiated into Phi Psi Chi, German-born Loew was found deceased in his dorm room while his South African roommate was found unconscious.[31] Upon awakening, Loew's roommate described the hazing. A week prior, Loew was undressed, blindfolded, and taken into a room where he was laid on a block of ice. He was then carried upstairs to a balcony and thrown over the railing, a drop of 24 feet. Underneath the railing were students holding a sheet. When he fell onto the sheet, he was tossed up and down until he was unconscious. After reviving, he was beaten severely. He was given whiskey and quinine that evening. The following Saturday, he submitted to an unknown form of hazing and his roommate underwent the same hazing ritual that Loew underwent the weekend prior.[32]
1903 Ralph Canning Childhood hazing Barton, Vermont Three young boys, aged 11, 10, and 7, read about hazing practices in college and decided to try it themselves. They built a fire in a pasture behind the schoolhouse and led nine-year-old Ralph Canning to the spot. They heated a number of stones until they were red hot. The boys forced Canning to both sit and stand on the hot stones and held him there despite his screams. The boys then either walked or jumped on him (depending on the source). He was finally allowed to leave and he crawled home, where he died two weeks later.[18][33]
September 1904 Frank Miller Class hazing Purdue University
West Lafayette, Indiana
Pneumonia Miller and other freshmen were taken to a bridge over the Wabash River. When he refused to cheer for the sophomores, he was stripped, painted black from head to toe (black and gold are Purdue's official colors), and thrown into the river. He was forced to swim until he was exhausted in the very cold water. He died of pneumonia four days later.[18][34]
April 1904 Freddie Fillwock Class hazing Rawson School
Findlay, Ohio
Head trauma Ten-year-old Fillwock was fatally injured during a hazing event by older boys at the school. He was being physically hazed by several boys who were several years older than him when he broke away from the crowd. He ran toward his home but fell, striking the back of his head on a stake. Several other boys piled on top of him. When he was picked up, his spine was injured, his skull fractured, and several ribs were broken. He died several days later.[35][36]
October 28, 1905 Stuart Lathrop Pierson Delta Kappa Epsilon Kenyon College
Gambier, Ohio
Hit by train Pierson was killed while being initiated into a fraternity. He was sent to a railroad track as part of a hazing ceremony, and killed by an unscheduled train.[37]
February 10, 1906 William Taylor Class hazing A school in Lima, Ohio Pneumonia Thirteen-year-old Taylor was buried in a snowdrift after rough hazing by classmates. He died a few days later of pneumonia.[18][38]
January 3, 1906 Cecil F. Leat Class hazing Hilliard High School
Columbus, Ohio
On November 9, 1905, Leat was thrown into a rail, then to the ground where he was beaten severely. He died the following January from the injuries.[39]
September 27, 1908 Emil S. Gran Class hazing Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Worcester, Massachusetts
Spinal trauma On September 22, 1908, Gran fractured his spine in the Sophomore-Freshmen cane rush and died several days later from his injuries.[40]
March 1909 Charles Stinson Class hazing White School
Indianapolis, Indiana
Stintson was strung up by the ankles to a tree near the school and left for an extended period of time. He died several hours after being taken down.[41]


Date of death Victim Organization Institution
and location
Cause of death Notes
February 9, 1910 Clarence W. Gore Class hazing University of Oregon
Eugene, Oregon
Gore fell ill following a hazing session in November, during which he was told to keep up a bonfire for an extended period of time, resulting in several hours of hard labor. He never recovered from this illness and died in February.[42]
September 12, 1912 William Rand Class hazing University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Neck laceration Rand, along with other freshmen, was forced to leave his room after midnight by sophomores and carried onto the football field. The freshmen were forced to dance, sing, and do other hazing stunts on top of a barrel standing on end. At some point, he either fell or the barrel was kicked out from under him. He fell on top of a broken bottle on the ground, severing his jugular vein. The four sophomores ran away, while his roommate called for help. Rand bled to death seven minutes after the fall, before medical help could reach him.[43]
July 24, 1913 Donald A. Kenny and Christopher Gustin Fraternal order hazing Loyal Order of Moose
Birmingham, Alabama
Electrocution Kenny and Gustin died by electrocution during an initiation ritual. The men were made to look upon a red hot emblem of the Order, then blindfolded, disrobed and had a chilled rubber version of the emblem applied to their chests, while a magneto was attached to their legs and an electric current was applied to them by a wire to their shoulders. The aim was evidently to make them believe that they were being branded. Both men fainted, but, as it was thought that they were feigning, the lodge officers did not stop the initiation until it was evident that the two were dying and the lodge physician was unable to revive them.[44][45]
September 19, 1913 Francis Obenchain Class hazing Purdue University
West Lafayette, Indiana
Broken neck Obenchain died from a broken neck following the "Tank Scrap" tradition, a brutal physical altercation between freshmen and sophomores.[46]
May 26, 1914 William Bowlus Class hazing St. John's College
Annapolis, Maryland
Gunshot Bowlus was a cadet in the junior class at the time of his death. He, along with several other upperclassmen, attempted to enter a freshman's room to haze the occupants. Five freshmen were in the room at the time and one fired a shot, striking him in the abdomen. The men refused to identify which one fired the shot, and a grand jury declined to indict.[47][48]
November 25, 1915 Thurber Sweet Class hazing Virginia Military Institute
Lexington, Virginia
Spinal trauma Sweet was the 17-year-old son of Chicago millionaire C.A. Sweet when he entered VMI. He left the institute in October, claiming he had been severely beaten by the other students by bayonets. Physician Dr. J.M. Scott attended to him, telling him his spinal injuries might result in paralysis. Sweet's health continued to deteriorate until he died at the hospital on November 25.[49]
October 1916 Paul N. Blue Class hazing Morningside College
Sioux City, Iowa
Head trauma Blue died following a hazing incident in which the freshmen were given a severe blow to the head. His injury was complicated by diabetes. He became ill following the blow and died later at the hospital.[50][51]
September 24, 1919 Frank McCullough Class hazing Colgate University
Hamilton, New York
Drowning Members of the sophomore class left freshmen, including McCullough, on an island to swim back to shore. He drowned.[6][52]


Date of death Victim Organization Institution
and location
Cause of death Notes
September 21, 1921 Leighton Mount Class hazing Northwestern University
Evanston, Illinois
Mount disappeared on the evening of a class hazing event and was discovered deceased in April 1923 in a hole beneath a pier between heavy slabs of concrete. Several feet of knotted rope was found around the skeleton, and physicians who examined the body gave the opinion that lime was placed over the body before it was hidden, and reapplied several times after to prevent the body from being discovered. Police were suspicious of hazing as a cause of death because another student, Arthur Persinger, was found bound, gagged in the same way, hanging off the pier with his head down toward the water as a form of hazing. Persinger survived.[53][54] Prior to the discovery of Mount's remains, a class hazing between college sophomores and freshmen had resulted in the death of one student, Louis Aubere, in a car-ramming accident; at the inquest of Aubere's death, one student, Roscoe Conkling Fitch, made an admission that Mount had been accidentally killed, his body hidden, and those involved had taken an oath never to reveal the mystery.[55] Students taken to the Criminal Courts claimed to have suffered a "loss of memory"; to have not seen Mount; a few admitted having taken an oath not to discuss the case at the instigation of student leaders on the grounds that it would hurt the school.[56] John Scott, son of Northwestern University President Walter Dill Scott, refused to talk with investigators on the grounds that the "oath of his fraternity prevented him" from doing so.[57] The only immediate result was to ban the type of hazing (class rushes) at the university.
January 6, 1925 Reginald Stringfellow Class hazing University of Utah
Salt Lake City, Utah
Stringfellow died following several instances of "tubbing", which was a hazing ritual that involved submerging the victim's head underwater for an extended period of time.[58][59]
September 30, 1928 Nolte McElroy Delta Kappa Epsilon University of Texas at Austin
Austin, Texas
Electrocution Sophomore football player Nolte McElroy was electrocuted during an initiation ritual in which he was forced to wear wet pajamas and crawl through two bedsprings that had been charged with electric current by connecting them to city lighting wires through a rheostat. 184 initiates had gone through the same ritual in the 15 years prior, without incident, including five before him on that evening. It is unknown why he alone was electrocuted.[6][60][61]


Date of death Victim Organization Institution
and location
Cause of death Notes
September 13, 1931 Lloyd Aune Class hazing Stout Institute
Menomonie, Wisconsin
Spinal injury Aune, a freshman, was killed when his spinal cord was severed during a hazing incident in which he was wrestling with sophomores.[62] Clifford Tweed, one of the sophomores involved in the grappling death, described the event as good-natured: "I had a toe-hold on him when he cried out. All of us picked him up immediately." He suffered a broken spine in the struggle and died a few days later.[63]
April 11, 1935 Richard Beitzel Phi Delta Theta Dickinson College
Carlisle, Pennsylvania
Sepsis Beitzel was walking through a field as part of a fraternity initiation stunt in February 1935. He fell against a tree stump, injuring his leg. He developed sepsis and died several weeks later.[64][65]
February 25, 1936 Taylor Lewis High school fraternity Unnamed high school
Miami, Florida
In November 1934, Taylor was struck on the hip and spine with a heavy plank during a hazing session. He died a little over a year later at the age of 17. He was confined to the hospital for most of the time between his injury and his death.[66]


Date of death Victim Organization Institution
and location
Cause of death Notes
March 10, 1940 Hubert L. Spake, Jr. Theta Nu Epsilon University of Missouri–Columbia
Columbia, Missouri
Suffocation Spake died following a fraternity initiation ceremony in which he imbibed heavily. He was found face down in bed and was ruled to have suffocated on his pillow.[6][67]
October 6, 1943 Wayne Rogers Class hazing Appleton High School
Appleton, Wisconsin
15-year-old sophomore Rogers was assaulted on a church lawn during the evening of September 7, 1943 (the first day of school) by a group of seven others, including seniors from his school as well as a junior high school student and students from St. Norbert College.[68] They clipped hair from his body and applied oil of wintergreen to his skin. His face began swelling, and he went into convulsions from which he did not recover.[69] An investigation into the death was launched, concluding with an official ruling that the death was due to an unrelated case of nephritis.[68] Rogers' parents were "extremely dissatisfied" with the conclusion, alleging that an autopsy was not performed on their son and the county coroner had not even been notified of the death.[70]
February 19, 1945 Robert Perry Phi Beta Pi Saint Louis University
St. Louis, Missouri
Immolation Perry died a day after he was critically injured in a fire that occurred during his fraternity initiation ceremony. His nude body was coated with a flammable substance: a lampblack and collodion mixture. Electrical shocks were administered to his skin. An induction coil short-circuited, lighting him on fire.[6][71][72]
February 20, 1945 Jack P. Jarosz Military US Navy Electrocution Lt. Thomas H. Fike was found guilty of "conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline" before a general court-martial following the death of Jarosz during a "shellback" ceremony, in which the sailor was told to touch the brass prongs of a trident when he gave a wrong answer. The intent was to cause a mild shock. Another sailor had undergone the same ceremony prior to Jarosz and suffered no ill effects. The ship's electrician testified that Fike told him to take all precautions in installing the device and that he witnessed Fike testing it out himself, finding the shock to be mild. Fike was acquitted of manslaughter and neglect charges.[73]
January 26, 1946 LeRoy Robert Bragg and Stanford Fluitt Military SS Frederick Galbraith Saltpeter overdose Crew members Bragg, 14, and Fluitt, 16, died aboard the ship from an overdose of saltpeter during a traditional equator crossing initiation. Crew members who had never crossed the equator were referred to as "pollywogs" and were promoted to "shellback" status following the crossing. During the shellback ceremony, the boys were blindfolded then marched out onto the deck, where they had numbers painted on them. They were then marched back into the mess hall to wait their turn for the next phase of the initiation, which involved drinking the saltpeter mixed with water. Bragg had obtained work on the ship illegally using fraudulent paperwork stating he was 17.[74][75]
April 5, 1948 James Peterson Senior honorary society Montana State University
Bozeman, Montana
Gunshot As part of the initiation ceremony for the society, Peterson and other pledges were instructed to break into the campus heating plant to sound a whistle. A night watchman fired a pistol to "bluff" the students, killing Peterson.[76]


Date of death Victim Organization University Cause of death Notes
May 3, 1950 Dean Niswonger Alpha Tau Omega Wittenberg College Hit by a vehicle Niswonger and fellow pledge Jerry Wendell were taken out into the country as part of a hazing ritual in which they were to find their way back to campus. They decided to sit down on the road to wait for a ride, fell asleep, and Niswonger was hit by a truck.[77]
Weekend of October 7–8, 1950 Gerald Foletta Sigma Pi University of California, Berkeley Hit by a vehicle Foletta was pledging Sigma Pi when he was driven out into the country to find his way back to campus. He was hit by a vehicle while walking back to the university.[78]
March 1, 1951 Allen Kaplan Class hazing Northwestern State College As part of a class hazing prank, Kaplan was told he was being set up on a blind date atop a bluff overlooking the Red River. There was no blind date, but another student jumped out from behind a bush, pretending to be the date's enraged husband holding a shotgun. He fired the gun into the air. The rest of the boys ran back to campus, but Kaplan never returned. It is unclear what happened next, but he was later found in the river below the bluff.[79]
May 25, 1951 Fred Evens, Jr. and Thomas Kleppner Lambda Chi Alpha University of Miami Hit by a vehicle Pledges Evens and Kleppner were taken 30 miles away from campus and told to find their way back. They fell asleep on the roadway and were struck by a vehicle. Kleppner was killed instantly, while Evens died from his injuries several days later on May 30.[80][81]
October 22, 1953 Calvin Dougherty Class hazing Milligan College 17-year-old Dougherty was injured in a race ordered by upperclassmen when he ran into a tennis cable. His pancreas ruptured and spleen had to be removed. He died several days later.[82]
February 10, 1956 Thomas Clark Delta Kappa Epsilon Massachusetts Institute of Technology Drowned Clark was taken to a remote spot and told to find his way back to campus. He fell through the ice covering a reservoir and drowned.[83]
October 7, 1957 Max Caulk Delta Tau Delta Santa Barbara College Drowned Caulk drowned during a fraternity ritual in which he was thrown from the pier into the ocean.[84]
May 19, 1959 Henry Sherwood Letterman's club Yakima High School (Yakima, Washington) Drowned Sherwood died from drowning during a session in which he and other initiates were wearing burlap sacks and being paddled in the water. His disappearance went unnoticed for several minutes. His body was located, but revival efforts were not successful.[85][86]
September 17, 1959 Richard Swanson Kappa Sigma University of Southern California Choking Kappa Sigma pledges were told to swallow a quarter-pound piece of raw liver soaked in oil, without chewing. The meat lodged in Swanson's throat, and he began choking. The fraternity brothers did not tell police and ambulance workers about the hazing ritual, and instead attributed Swanson's respiratory distress to a "nervous spasm". He died two hours later.[87] The incident inspired the 1977 film Fraternity Row, as well a CSI: Crime Scene Investigation episode titled "Pledging Mr. Johnson".[88]


Date of death Victim Organization University Cause of death Notes
September 11, 1963 Michael Murphy High school band Charleston High School, Charleston, West Virginia Fifteen-year-old Murphy was killed in a band initiation incident in which three fellow band members were striking his stomach in an attempt to give him a "pink belly".[89]
August 1966 Lamonte R. Jenkins Football team Roman Catholic High School (Philadelphia) Drowning 17-year-old Jenkins drowned following a hazing incident in which he was thrown into the water by teammates.[90]
October 9, 1967 John Clifton Baylor Chamber of Commerce Baylor University Cardiac arrest Clifton died following an initiation ritual in which he was told to drink a concoction of five different kinds of laxatives and garlic and then run in place.[91] He regurgitated the concoction and then aspirated it, causing significant damage to his larynx and trachea. He began to have difficulty breathing while running and soon collapsed. He suffered a hemorrhage in his lungs and died of cardiac arrest.[92]
February 8, 1969 Scott Graeler Stag Club Muskingum College Heart failure Graeler, a college football player, died of heart failure following an initiation ceremony. The details of the ceremony were not disclosed, but his death was ruled to have been caused by overexertion.[93] The president of the club, John Falcon, was convicted and fined $100 on a charge of excessive hazing.[94]


Date of death Victim Organization University Cause of death Notes
March 1970 Donna Bedinger Alpha Gamma Delta Eastern Illinois University Head trauma Bedinger and another female student were driven to a wooded area three miles away from Eastern Illinois University and left as the other sorority members drove away. The ritual was known as "pledge sneak". Bedinger ran after the vehicle and tried to catch its rear bumper but missed, striking her head on the road. She died a few days later.[95]
December 22, 1972 Fred Bronner Chi Chi Chi Los Angeles Pierce College Three fraternity members dropped Bronner off on a secluded road with the intention that he would hike back to campus, approximately 10 miles. They told him to think about how "obnoxious" he was. He was found eight days later at the bottom of a 500-foot cliff in Angeles National Forest.[96]
September 13, 1973 Mitchell Fishkin Delta Phi Lehigh University Fishkin's fraternity brothers intended to drive the pledge to the other side of the mountain, then make him walk back to the fraternity. En route, he jumped from the moving vehicle and died.[97]
November 12, 1974 William Flowers Zeta Beta Tau Monmouth College (New Jersey) Buried alive Flowers, along with other pledges, was digging a deep hole in the sand (said to be a symbolic grave), when the walls collapsed and Flowers was buried, causing his death. His death spurred an anti-hazing statute in New York.[98] Flowers would have been the first black member of ZBT at Monmouth had he survived.[99]
September 12, 1975 Theodore Ben Class hazing Cheyney University of Pennsylvania Head trauma Freshman Theodore Ben was killed following a class hazing ritual. He slammed into a wall while carrying another student up and down a hallway, a hazing ritual known as a "dog line". His skull was fractured and he fell into a coma. He died four days later at the hospital.[100][101]
August 23, 1976 Samuel Mark Click Pi Kappa Alpha Texas Tech University Hit by train Click was killed during a scavenger hunt as part of a hazing event. He was attempting to collect a letter that was under a railroad tie. He was hit by a train and killed.[6]
1976 Dennis Rodenbeck Phi Gamma Delta Iowa State University Allergic reaction Rodenbeck died from an allergic reaction after drinking massive quantities of liquor and beer. The chapter was investigated, but no charges were placed.[6]
November 5, 1976 Thomas Fitzgerald Pershing Rifles St. John's University Chest wound Fitzgerald was a student at another university who had applied for admission into St. John's and the Pershing Rifles. He was kidnapped and intimidated with a bayonet when the blade accidentally pierced his chest, killing him.[6]
April 21, 1977 Robert Brazile Omega Psi Phi (not recognized by national fraternity) University of Pennsylvania Heart attack Brazile died of a heart attack following weeks of intense hazing that included beatings, paddling, being forced to run long distances, and sleep deprivation.[6]
February 5, 1978 Nathaniel Swinson Omega Psi Phi (not recognized by national fraternity) North Carolina Central University Swinson died following a hazing ritual in which he was forced to run several miles and complete a grueling exercise routine. Swinson had sickle cell anemia, which was exacerbated by the strenuous workout.[102]
February 24, 1978 Chuck Stenzel Klan Alpine Alfred University Alcohol intoxication Stenzel (some sources list his surname as Stevens) was awoken and taken with other pledges, stripped, placed in the trunk of a car, and told to drink a pint of Jack Daniel's, a six-pack of beer, and a bottle of wine between them. Three of the men were unconscious when they opened the trunk. He was left in his dorm for several hours until they finally brought him and two other unconscious pledges to the hospital. The other two men regained consciousness after 72 hours, but Stenzel died of severe pulmonary edema.[95][103]
January 11, 1979 Bruce Wiseman Theta Xi Louisiana State University Hit by a car Wiseman and six other pledges were in the middle of an initiation ceremony in which they were guided blindfolded across River Road next to the Mississippi River. Their fraternity brothers, who were guiding them, attempted to get them off of the road when a car approached, but they failed to do so in time and the group was hit. Wiseman was killed and three others suffered broken legs.[104]


Date of death Victim Organization University Cause of Death Notes
August 31, 1980 Steve Call Delta Kappa Phi University of Lowell Hyperthermia Call was required to perform extensive calisthenics as part of his pledging.[105]
January 25, 1980 Lurie "Barry" Ballou Sigma Nu University of South Carolina Choking as a result of alcohol intoxication Ballou choked to death on his own vomit after he passed out from drinking massive quantities of alcohol in a drinking ritual as part of his pledging. His blood alcohol content (BAC) was 0.46 when he died.[106]
April 2, 1980 Joseph Parella Delta Kappa (local fraternity) Ithaca College Heatstroke Parella died after undergoing a long-standing initiation tradition of calisthenics. One source described the events as taking place in a steam room.[6] Another lists Delta Kappa fraternity's initiation rites as involving the 14 pledges doing 100 pushups, running up and down a steep hill, doing 100 more pushups, then sprinting up and down the hill again. Parella began having trouble breathing, so the fraternity brothers carried him into the hallway and removed his clothing to cool him off. He continued to decline, prompting them to administer CPR and called an ambulance.[107]
1981 Rick Cerra FEX (local fraternity) University of Wisconsin–Superior Cerra collapsed and died after being forced to do calisthenics while wearing heavy clothing on a hot day.[6]
March 29, 1982 Victor Siegel Alpha Omega Lambda Towson State University Traffic collision Sleep deprivation stemming from hazing rituals was considered to be a contributing factor. At the time of his death, Siegel was wearing a Playboy Bunny costume and driving to get signatures of alumni as part of the pledging requirements.[6]
1983 Vann Watts Omega Psi Phi Tennessee State University Alcohol intoxication

(BAC 0.52)

A member of his pledge class said that he had been beaten with switches as well and his head had been shaved. Other members denied the allegation.[6]
January 5, 1984 Arnaldo Mercado Pérez Panthers Military Society (AFROTC Society) University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez Mercado died after a few days of continuous pledging military drill style and physical abuse in the Air Force ROTC fraternity. He eventually died of renal failure and acute bronchial bilateral pulmonary.


1984 Bruce Ward Goodrich Corps of Cadets Texas A&M University Heatstroke Goodrich died of heatstroke after performing strenuous calisthenics. Another student was found guilty of destroying evidence (a company exercise schedule) and three others pleaded guilty to hazing charges.[6]
1984 James Lenaghan Zeta Chi American International College Lenaghan died after a ritual involving eating small plates of spaghetti followed with large quantities of wine. Other fraternity members placed him in a bathtub after he lost control of his bowels, unaware that this was a sign of impending death. His BAC was 0.48 at the time of death.[6]
1984 Jeffrey Franklin Long Tau Gamma Theta (local fraternity)[110] California State University, Chico Hit by a car On the night of Long's death, pledges were encouraged to consume two gallons of wine before participating in a drag race. Long was struck by a vehicle driven by another pledge.[6]
1986 Mark Seeberger Phi Kappa Psi University of Texas at Austin Alcohol intoxication

(BAC 0.43)

Seeberger died of alcohol poisoning after he and two other Phi Kappa Psi pledges participated in a fraternity hazing ritual where they were handcuffed in a van and made to consume 16 to 20 ounces (~530 mL) of rum.[111]
March 7, 1986 Michael J Dailey Sigma Alpha Epsilon Eastern Kentucky University Alcohol intoxication

(BAC 0.40)

Dailey was forced to drink 151 Rum until he passed out and placed on a couch where he was found hours later. His BAC was measured at 0.40. Fraternity members failed to seek medical attention and faternity denied any event took place that evening.[citation needed]
February 13, 1988 James Callahan Lambda Chi Alpha Rutgers University Pledges of Lambda Chi Alpha were encouraged to drink large amounts of alcohol in an attempt to make them sick. An autopsy confirmed that Callahan had a BAC of 0.434 when he died.[98]
1989 Joel Harris Alpha Phi Alpha Morehouse College Harris died following a hazing ritual in which pledges were required to recite historical events of the fraternity and were physically punished for errors. Harris eventually collapsed during a ritual involving slaps, blows, and punches. The ritual lasted between three and five hours. Harris was found to have an abnormal heart rhythm linked to congenital heart disease. As a result of his death, Alpha Phi Alpha voted to halt pledging within the fraternity, instead allowing members to join directly.[102]


Date of death Victim Organization University Cause of Death Notes
October 19, 1990 Nick Haben Lacrosse club Western Illinois University Alcohol intoxication

(BAC 0.34)

Haben died of alcohol poisoning. He participated in drinking games required for admission into the lacrosse club and was found dead in his dorm room the next morning. Haben's teammates said they had carried him there just before midnight, and propped him up with pillows with his face toward the floor, so he wouldn't choke if he vomited. His BAC was 0.34 at the time of his death.[112]
1991 Mike Nisbet St. Pat's Board University of Missouri, Rolla Choking while intoxicated with alcohol Nisbet was found dead after choking to death on his own vomit after a ritual drinking game required of initiates into St. Pat's Board, an organization on campus which raised money for the annual St. Patrick's Day celebration.[6]
March 31, 1992 Gregory R. Batipps Alpha Phi Alpha University of Virginia Traffic collision Batipps died in a car accident after falling asleep behind the wheel. His roommate told police that Batipps had been deprived of sleep during pledging activities, returned home at 3 am, and leaving a few hours later at 7:30.[113]
1992 J.B. Joynt Phi Sigma Kappa Frostburg State University Joynt died following a pledge sneak in which pledges were rough-housing with members.[6]
1993 Chad Saucier Phi Delta Theta Auburn University Alcohol intoxication Death from alcohol intoxication following an annual bottle exchange between members and pledges.[6]
September 28, 1993 Leslie Ware Alpha Phi Omega (not recognized by national fraternity) Alcorn State University Shot to death Ware was shot at 1 am while stealing a chair, by the boyfriend of the chair's owner. The surviving pledges originally said they were retrieving the chair for a member who requested it, but subsequently changed their statement, claiming they were pulling a prank on their own. The chapter was banned and officially inactive at the time.[6][114]
April 16, 1994 Terry Linn Delta Chi Bloomsburg University Alcohol intoxication

(BAC 0.40)

Linn died of alcohol poisoning following Delta Chi's pledging "hell night". His BAC was 0.40.[6][115]
February 14, 1994 Michael Davis Kappa Alpha Psi Southeast Missouri State University Polytrauma after a brutal hazing Davis died after being brutally beaten as part of a hazing ritual. He was unconscious when he was driven home and put to bed. He had broken ribs, a lacerated kidney, a lacerated liver, and bruises all over his chest, neck, back, and arms. He died from bleeding in his brain.[116]
February 10, 1997 Binaya Oja Theta Chi Clarkson University Alcohol intoxication As part of Oja's initiation, pledges gathered in a semicircle around a bucket and were instructed to take turns drinking hard liquor. If any pledges did not drink the liquor fast enough, they were instructed to guzzle a full glass of beer. The point of the game was allegedly for pledges to drink to the point of vomiting. Oja was found dead the following morning. News reports suggested that he was pressured heavily to drink, but other pledges and various sources both within and connected to Theta Chi reported that Oja was drinking more than the others in an attempt to impress members of the fraternity and that some fraternity brothers tried to convince him to stop drinking.[88]
September 29, 1997 Scott Krueger Phi Gamma Delta Massachusetts Institute of Technology Alcohol intoxication Krueger died of alcohol intoxication as part of a ritual celebration intended to forge a bond between each freshman and an upper-class mentor. The freshmen at the party were required to collectively consume a certain amount of liquor. M.I.T. officials were reluctant to call it hazing.[117]
November 11, 1998 Jack Ivey Phi Kappa Sigma University of Texas at Austin Alcohol intoxication

(BAC 0.46)

Ivey's parents alleged that fraternity members tricked their son into drinking too much, stripped him down to his underwear, and tied him up before driving him around in the back of a truck on the night of his death in 1998. He died of alcohol intoxication, with a BAC of 0.46. Phi Kappa Sigma settled with his parents for $2 million.[118]
December 11, 1999 Kevin Lawless Sigma Tau Omega Iona College Alcohol intoxication Lawless collapsed and died following the consumption of "large quantities of beer, wine, and vodka" at a bar and later at the apartment of one of the fraternity brothers.[119]
March 15, 1999 Stephen Petz Knights of College Leadership (local fraternity) Ferris State University Alcohol intoxication Petz died of alcohol intoxication after drinking heavily as part of his initiation.[6] On the night prior to his death, he played a game called the "wheel of torture". Petz's mother explained, "They sat in a circle, [and] would spin the wheel. And when it was your turn to spin, you had to drink what the wheel said." Petz consumed 27 shots of liquor and passed out. He was found in serious condition at 8 am the next morning. His fraternity brothers drove him to the hospital an hour later.[120]


Date of death Victim Organization University Cause of Death Notes
October 6, 2000 Adrian Heideman Pi Kappa Phi California State University, Chico Choking as a result of alcohol intoxication After consuming beer and blackberry brandy as part of his initiation ritual, Heideman became intoxicated and was moved to a back room while the rest of the chapter watched strippers who had been hired for the event. When his fraternity brothers checked on him at 1 am the next morning, they found him unresponsive; he had aspirated his vomit and asphyxiated as a result of severe alcohol intoxication.[121]
January 29, 2001 Joseph T. Green Omega Psi Phi Tennessee State University Asthma attack after intense exercise Green had an asthma attack and died while jogging and doing calisthenics as part of his fraternity pledging. He had a temperature of 39.8 °C (103.7 °F) when he died.[95]
November 4, 2001 Chad Meredith Kappa Sigma University of Miami Drowning, while intoxicated with alcohol After a night of drinking, Meredith was told to swim across Lake Osceola but struggled due to his intoxication. He drowned 34 feet from shore. Meredith's parents sued the fraternity and were awarded $12,600,000, the largest verdict ever awarded in a fraternity hazing death. In 2005, Florida passed the Chad Meredith Act, which allows prosecutors to seek felony charges for hazing.[95]
February 12, 2002 (date found) Benjamin Klein Zeta Beta Tau Alfred University Apparent suicide after brutal hazing Two Alfred University fraternity members, Bradley Calkins and Thomas Lam, pleaded guilty to assault and hazing charges, respectively, following the suicide of Klein. The men admitted to assaulting Klein on February 9 to prevent him from speaking out against the fraternity's hazing practices. "We were all afraid that if he left, he would get our fraternity in trouble because he was drinking and telling others about hazing practices in our fraternity," one of the men said. Calkins admitted he hit Klein in the head with a boot after binding his hands and feet with duct tape in a hotel room during a regional fraternity meeting. Lam admitted to encouraging the practice and not taking any steps to halt it. While he was still tied up, he was placed in the bathtub with the shower turned on and not released until he promised he would not leave the hotel room. Klein was found deceased three days later in a creek behind the fraternity house of an apparent suicide by drug overdose. He was found with cuts and bruises on his body from the assault. A month after Klein's death, Alfred University voted to eliminate the Greek system from their campus.[122]
February 14, 2002 Daniel Reardon Phi Sigma Kappa University of Maryland, College Park Alcohol intoxication Reardon died of alcohol poisoning following a hazing ritual. He was comatose for one week before life support was removed.[123] The chapter is still active on UM's campus, but they have overhauled the way they bring members into the fraternity. The recruitment brochure for the 2012 year says it has "no pledging and no hazing. None. Never. Ever. Pledging and hazing has no place in a brotherhood."[124]
September 9, 2002 Kristin High and Kenitha Saafir Alpha Kappa Alpha California State University, Los Angeles Drowning According to a lawsuit filed by the family, on the night they died, they spent several hours at the beach doing calisthenics before being ordered to walk backward into the ocean. Kenitha, who couldn't swim, was hit by a wave and knocked over. Kristin attempted to rescue Kenitha. Both girls drowned. A lawsuit filed by the girls' families alleged that the women had been blindfolded, had their arms tied, and were wearing clothes and shoes when they entered the water.[125]
October 10, 2002 Albert Santos Pi Kappa Alpha University of Nevada, Reno Drowning Santos drowned in Manzanita Lake as part of a fraternity ritual. It is unclear if the death was a result of hazing or a prank, but the fraternity was banned from UNR following the incident.[126][127]
March 12, 2003 Walter Dean Jennings Psi Epsilon Chi State University of New York at Plattsburgh Water intoxication Jennings was pledging Psi Epsilon Chi when he was forced to drink numerous pitchers of water through a funnel. His brain swelled and he died as a result of water intoxication. The fraternity had lost its recognition by the campus five years prior.[128]
October 20, 2003 Kelly Nester Sigma Kappa Omega Plymouth State University Traffic collision Nester was killed in a car accident in which she and 10 other pledges were blindfolded and packed into an SUV, which lost control and flipped. A lawyer for Nester's family said: "The understanding is that this was to be a punishment trip because some of the pledges hadn't done some of things required of them. The intent was, apparently, either to scare them or drop them someplace, forcing them to find their way home." New Hampshire police said that the driver may have been driving erratically, rocking the Jeep back and forth and jamming the brakes. The sorority was an unrecognized local sorority composed of members who had either left or been kicked out of Alpha Sigma Alpha.[129]
September 17, 2004 Gordie Bailey Chi Psi University of Colorado at Boulder Alcohol intoxication Bailey died of alcohol intoxication following a fraternity initiation ritual that involved heavy drinking.[130] The Gordie Foundation was set up in his memory, "to provide today's young people with the skills to navigate the dangers of alcohol, binge drinking, peer pressure and hazing".
November 18, 2004 Steven David Judd Delta Chi New Mexico State University Alcohol intoxication As part of Delta Chi fraternity's 21st birthday hazing ritual, Steven consumed at least 15 shots of hard liquor in a 2-hour period at a local bar. Police reports state that Steven had on at least two separate occasions asked the bartenders not to serve him any more alcohol and was also served a drink in order to cause him to vomit which was unsuccessful. After returning to his fraternity house he fell down several times hitting his head and was put to bed where he was found unconscious the following morning. He ultimately was taken off life support just 24 hours after turning 21. At the time of his death, Steven was a junior Crimson Scholar at New Mexico State University majoring in Computer Science. The university refused to accept any responsibility or make significant changes in their campus policies. Repeated attempt to get the New Mexico legislature to pass a "Cinderella Law" which would have postponed the legal age, for drinking purposes, 12 hours was consistently met with opposition from the liquor lobby and failed each and every time in committee. A memorial scholarship, funded by his parents and friends, has been awarded each year for the student that "has made the greatest contribution toward alcohol prevention and the reduction of high-risk drinking at NMSU."
November 25, 2003 Shawn Davis Occupational hazing Republic Energy Drilling Company Polytrauma A drilling rig employee received an 18-year prison sentence in the hazing death of 23-year-old Shawn Davis, a new employee of Republic Energy Drilling Company. Veteran employees were attempting to initiate Davis by hoisting him upwards via a cable used to pick up a pipe and place it on the rig floor. Davis resisted, but the employees succeeded in putting the belt on Davis and hooking him to the cat line. Another employee noted that the kelly, the device located on the rig floor that is used to drill into the ground and spins at seventy rotations per minute, was turning and, based on his experience, he knew that any slack in the cat line could get caught on the kelly as it turned. Unbeknownst to other employees, this is what happened shortly before he was hooked to the cat line. They hastily attempted to unhook the cat line as it pulled Davis out of the door of the top doghouse. Davis was dragged, face first, out of the building. Davis hit the bottom half of the doghouse door, taking it off the hinges. He was then dragged to the kelly bushing where he was spun around approximately ten to twenty times as his body hit several different pieces of equipment and surfaces. They immediately shut down the equipment and called 911, but he died of blunt force trauma.[131]
March 8, 2004 William James Southside Masonic Lodge, Patchogue, New York Freemasons Shot to death James was killed during an initiation ceremony into an unsanctioned "Fellowcrafts Club" attached to a local lodge when another member mistakenly fired a gun loaded with real bullets instead of blanks. Police say that the members—all Masons—sat James in a chair and placed cans on a small platform around his head. The alleged shooter, Albert Eid, was standing approximately 20 feet away holding a gun. A second man was supposed to knock the cans off when the gun was fired to make the inductee think they had been struck by bullets to create fear and anxiety. Eid had two guns—one with blanks and one with real bullets—and apparently pulled the wrong one out of his pocket and fired, hitting James.[132]
February 2, 2005 Matthew Carrington Chi Tau (local) California State University, Chico Water intoxication Carrington was forced to drink large amounts of water and do calisthenics in a basement flooded with raw sewage with fans blowing on him. He died from water intoxication. The ritual dated back 20 years at the fraternity. As a result, California passed Matt's Law, which allows for felony prosecution of some hazing rituals, which had historically been misdemeanors.[95][133]
August 28, 2005 Kenny Luong Lambda Phi Epsilon University of California, Irvine As a result of intense exercise Luong died after being tackled in a ritual football game that pitted the 10-member pledge group against approximately 40 active members and alumni. The game lasted for more than 3 hours and was played without the use of pads. Prior to the football game, the pledges were forced to complete vigorous calisthenics such as close-fisted pushups on gravel; jumping in the air while standing, landing on their chests without using their hands to break their fall; and drinking two gallons of water in one sitting.[134]
December 10, 2005 Phanta "Jack" Phoummarath Lambda Phi Epsilon University of Texas at Austin Alcohol intoxication

(BAC 0.41)

Phoummarath was given at least four bottles of liquor to drink on the evening of his death. His BAC was measured at 0.41. Fraternity members failed to seek medical attention for at least 12 hours after he fell unconscious.[95]
January 8, 2006 Danny Ray Daniels Phi Gamma Delta California State University Fresno Alcohol intoxication

(BAC 0.34)

It was found out that Daniels and his fraternity hosted a large party with up to 70 people on January 7. They discovered Danny was a pledge and fraternity brothers forced him to drink large amounts of alcohol for initiation. Once he became sick, FIJI members carried him to a secluded room at the fraternity and left him. Daniels died in the early morning of January 8, 2006 from acute alcohol intoxication and later tests showed that Daniels had a blood-alcohol level of 0.34, more than four times the legal limit. The university suspended the chapter for 5 years and as of 2019, they are still inactive.[135][136][137]
November 17, 2006 Tyler Cross Sigma Alpha Epsilon University of Texas at Austin Polytrauma due to falling after alcohol intoxication Investigators say Cross fell from a fifth-floor balcony as a result of being highly intoxicated after a hazing ritual. Cross' family claims that he was beaten with paddles, forced to consume large amounts of alcohol, and deprived of sleep.[138]
March 30, 2007 Gary DeVercelly Phi Kappa Tau Rider University Alcohol intoxication DeVercelly died from alcohol poisoning as a result of a fraternity hazing ritual. During "Big Little Night" at Phi Kappa Tau, pledges were presented with their 'family' drink and were required to drink the entire bottle before leaving the basement of the fraternity house. All 16 pledges drank, many finished their bottles. Two went to the hospital with alcohol poisoning. One of them died.[95][139]
November 8, 2008 Brett Griffin Sigma Alpha Mu University of Delaware Alcohol intoxication

(BAC 0.341)

Griffin died of alcohol poisoning after participating in a fraternity ritual, in which the pledges lined up in the basement of the fraternity house, ate raw onion slathered with hot sauce, and drank concoctions that made them vomit. Griffin then drank a 750 ml bottle of Southern Comfort. He was propped up on his side on a couch with a bucket or trash can in which to vomit, and later found "foaming out of his mouth." He died with a BAC of 0.341.
October 5, 2008 Johnny D. Smith Delta Tau Delta Wabash College Alcohol intoxication

(BAC 0.40)

Smith died of alcohol poisoning while pledging Delta Tau Delta at Wabash. Following the death, Wabash shut down and discontinued their lease of the fraternity house. Smith's BAC was 0.40 at his death.[140][141]
November 18, 2008 Harrison Kowiak Theta Chi Lenoir-Rhyne University Head injury Kowiak was fatally injured while playing a capture-the-flag-like game as part of an initiation. According to a lawsuit filed by Kowiak's family, Kowiak and another pledge were dressed in brightly colored clothing and led out onto a dark field with instructions to make it to the other end while fraternity brothers tried to stop them. Kowiak struck his head on the ground after being tackled.[95]
November 20, 2008 Michael Starks Sigma Nu Utah State University Alcohol intoxication Starks died of alcohol poisoning after drinking heavily as part of the initiation ritual.[95]
December 2, 2008 Carson Starkey Sigma Alpha Epsilon California Polytechnic State University Alcohol intoxication

(BAC 0.39–0.44)

Starkey died of alcohol poisoning with a BAC between 0.39 and 0.44. He had attended a "brown bag" event, where fraternity members ordered pledges to drink specified amounts of alcohol from unknown bottles wrapped in paper bags.[95]
March 1, 2009 Arman Partamian Pigs (unofficial local fraternity) State University of New York at Geneseo Alcohol intoxication

(BAC 0.55)

Partamian died of alcohol poisoning with a BAC of 0.55. The Pigs had been penalized for hazing practices in 1996 when two students were hospitalized for alcohol poisoning. (Group also known as Orange Knights)[95][142]
October 21, 2009 Donnie Wade Phi Beta Sigma Prairie View A&M University Acute exertional rhabdomyolysis Wade collapsed during exercise drills and died because of "acute exertional rhabdomyolysis," a syndrome linked to sudden deaths of military recruits and athletes. A lawsuit by Wade's family alleges that Wade was deprived of fluids while undergoing the intense exercise session that included running bleachers, holding his legs six inches off the ground, doing pushups and jumping jacks, and living on a strict bread-and-water diet.[143]


Date of death Victim Organization University Cause of Death Notes
October 15, 2010 Samuel Mason Tau Kappa Epsilon Radford University Alcohol intoxication He had a BAC of 0.48. According to his mother, Mason died of alcohol poisoning after taking part in the fraternity's "family drink" ritual, where pledges are given a large amount of alcohol and told to finish an allotted portion. In this case, she claims the alcohol was in a 5-gallon gas can.[144] His BAC was 0.48 at the time of his death.[145]
2010 Victoria Carter and Briana Latrice Gather Delta Sigma Theta East Carolina University Traffic collision after sleep deprivation and fatigue Carter and Gather died in a traffic accident around 6:30 am on the way to a hair appointment to prepare for initiation. Gather and Carter had undergone a number of grueling hazing activities that week, including the "Delta TV," in which the pledges were forced to get into and hold a push-up position, do "wall sits" and maintain that stance for a long period of time, and do the "Delta Chair": standing on one leg and holding heavy bricks over their heads. The pledges also wore "Delta Lipstick": hot sauce rubbed on their lips, and ate a "Delta Apple," a large raw onion; they were also asked to eat large amounts of cottage cheese, and drink buttermilk. The driver of the vehicle, a fellow pledge who survived, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor death by motor vehicle. According to the lawsuit filed by the family, she was suffering from "excessive and overwhelming fatigue, exhaustion and sleep deprivation and fell asleep behind the wheel" because of the pledging exercises.

The night and morning hours prior to the accident, the pledges had been practicing the "probate death march," an aspect of the initiation ceremony. They did not have the opportunity to sleep as a result of the long hours of practice.[146]

February 25, 2011 George Desdunes Sigma Alpha Epsilon Cornell University Alcohol intoxication Desdunes died of alcohol poisoning following a Sigma Alpha Epsilon ritual that is the reverse of traditional hazing rituals. Freshman pledges kidnap older members, blindfold them, and bind their wrists and ankles with zip ties and duct tape. The fraternity brothers are asked trivia questions about Sigma Alpha Epsilon and drink if they get an answer wrong.[147]
2011 Robert Champion Florida A&M Marching Band Florida A&M University Collapse Champion was a drum major in the university's marching band, the Marching 100. He collapsed after undergoing a ritual referred to as "Crossing Bus C", in which band members must walk from the front of the bus to the back while other band members kick, punch, and hit him with straps, drum sticks, and other objects. Fellow band members told detectives that the ritual is required in order to be considered for leadership positions.[148]

The university president, James Ammons, resigned shortly after, as did two faculty members. The band was suspended for over a year. The leader, Dante Martin, was convicted of manslaughter and hazing charges and sentenced to six years in prison.

November 2, 2012 David Bogenberger Pi Kappa Alpha Northern Illinois University Alcohol intoxication Bogenberger died of a cardiac arrhythmia triggered by alcohol poisoning. "The event that night involved the pledges rotating between several rooms in the fraternity house, being asked a series of questions, and then being provided cups of vodka and other liquor to drink," police said in a statement. "This resulted in the pledges drinking a large quantity of alcohol in about a two-hour time period." Pledges were told to drink regardless of whether they answered questions correctly.[149] In 2015, 22 former Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity members were convicted of various charges related to the death. None of the men were sentenced to jail time, mostly receiving fines and community service. Richard Schmack, DeKalb County State's Attorney, said it was the largest hazing prosecution in U.S. history.[150]
February 17, 2012 William Torrance Delta Gamma Iota Vincennes University Alcohol intoxication Torrance died of alcohol poisoning after a bid night ceremony.[151]
September 3, 2012 Philip Dhanens Theta Chi California State University, Fresno Alcohol intoxication Dhanens died of alcohol poisoning (BAC 0.36) after a hazing event in which 15 pledges were placed in a room where they were told they had to drink eight bottles of hard liquor in order to leave.[152][153] His blood alcohol level was 0.36.[154] The fraternity president pleaded no contest to a single misdemeanor charge of hazing and was sentenced to three years' probation and community service; two other fraternity members pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of hazing and providing alcohol to a minor causing death and were sentenced to 90 days and 30 days in jail, respectively.[154]
March 26, 2012 Robert Tipton Delta Sigma Phi High Point University Oxymorphone overdose after brutal hazing 22-year-old Robert Eugene Tipton Jr. was pledging Delta Sigma Phi when he was found unresponsive in an off-campus apartment on March 26, 2012. He was pronounced dead at the hospital later that day. The state medical examiner ruled that an oxymorphone overdose was the cause of death and no criminal charges were filed. The family filed a lawsuit against the fraternity, the university, and members of the fraternity alleging that Tipton was "violently" assaulted and battered during a fraternity "counseling session," and suffered blunt force trauma to the head, which led to his death. The suit also alleges that a fraternity member deleted text messages from Tipton's phone after his death to cover up the hazing. The suit contends the school was aware of "outrageous conduct" by the fraternity and misrepresented "information about the frequency or incidence of hazing, violence, injuries, substance abuse, and/or other dangerous and/or illegal activities at HPU or within Delta Sigma Phi."[155]
April 20, 2013 Marvell Edmondson and Jauwan Holmes Men of Honor (local, unsanctioned fraternity) Virginia State University Drowning Edmondson and Holmes drowned during an initiation rite for the underground fraternity known as Men of Honor. Seven students locked arms and attempted to cross the Appomattox River together. Fraternity members told police they completed the same rite several months earlier without issue and the water was shallow enough to make it across without swimming. On April 20, however, the river had swelled considerably due to a recent storm and was moving more swiftly. The students quickly became submerged and were swept downstream. The other five men were rescued by members of the fraternity. Four fraternity members pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and hazing charges.[156]
April 24, 2013 Peter Tran Lambda Phi Epsilon San Francisco State University Alcohol poisoning During a "crossover" party where new members were initiated into the fraternity, Tran died of alcohol poisoning. He wasn't discovered until the next day. A member of the fraternity attempted to perform CPR, but Tran was pronounced dead at 1 PM on April 24. Lambda Phi Epsilon was expelled from the university following Tran's death.[157]
December 8, 2013 Chun "Michael" Deng Pi Delta Psi Baruch College Head injury Deng died following a hazing ritual called "glass ceiling" while on a retreat in the Poconos. He was blindfolded and wearing a backpack filled with 20 pounds of sand. He fell over after being pushed, striking his head. After he lost consciousness, fraternity members delayed seeking medical assistance for two hours. He died two days later.[158]
July 1, 2014 Armando Villa Pi Kappa Phi California State University, Northridge Heat stroke while hiking Villa died following an 18-mile group hike with other pledges near Big Tujunga Canyon Road in Angeles National Forest. According to an attorney who represented Villa's parents, the group ran out of water at some point during the hike and Villa left the group in search of more water. He was later found unresponsive lying face down in a culvert. Other pledges told authorities that they didn't realize Villa "was any worse off than the other hikers," according to court documents.[159] He died from heatstroke.[160][161][162] His family is suing CSUN and the fraternity.[needs update][163] Prosecutors declined to charge the fraternity president, stating that a group hike on a hot day with inadequate water supply did not fit the traditional definition of hazing. They argued that hazing deaths are usually the result of excessive alcohol consumption, drugs or physical injury inflicted by fraternity members, and Villa's death was not due to those causes.[159]
September 22, 2014 Tucker Hipps Sigma Phi Epsilon Clemson University Head injuries after fall Sigma Phi Epsilon pledge Tucker Hipps was participating in a group run with his fraternity around 5:30am when he fell from a bridge into shallow waters of Lake Hartwell. He died of head injuries from the fall. The fraternity members reported that he got separated from the group and didn't return from the run. He was reported missing and his body was found later on that day. The police investigating his death released a statement that they were unable to find any link between hazing and his death, but it was widely speculated, particularly on social media, that the death resulted from hazing. Because of the widespread rumors, the president's Interfraternity Council at Clemson voted to suspend pledge activities. Hipps' family filed a lawsuit against Clemson University, Sigma Phi Epsilon, and three fraternity brothers. Citing an unnamed witness, they allege that Hipps was forced to walk the narrow railing of the S.C. 93 bridge before the fall.[164][165]
November 14, 2014 Nolan Burch Kappa Sigma West Virginia University Alcohol intoxication Burch, 18, died of alcohol poisoning following an initiation function referred to as "Big-Little" on November 12, 2014. Burch was taken back to the fraternity house following the function because of his "high level of intoxication." Shortly before midnight, another member of Kappa Sigma noticed that Burch's face had a blue coloration to it and was unable to wake him. The fraternity brothers started CPR and called 911, but he died two days later. His blood alcohol content (BAC) was measured at .493 percent. The fraternity brother who provided Burch with the bottle of alcohol was charged with one count of hazing and one count of conspiracy to commit hazing.[166]
November 17, 2014 Trevor Duffy Zeta Beta Tau (unaffiliated, unsanctioned fraternity) University at Albany Alcohol intoxication Duffy, 19, died of alcohol poisoning two days after a pledging ritual in which he was to consume a 60-ounce (1.8 litre) bottle of Belvedere Vodka. He had a blood alcohol level of 0.58. The ZBT chapter lost its recognition in the fall of 1997, but continued to operate underground. In 2011, the national fraternity Zeta Beta Tau formed a new chapter at Albany with the underground fraternity continuing to use the same name. The recognized ZBT chapter on University of Albany's campus was not involved in the incident.[167][168]
March 18, 2016 Raheel Siddiqui United States Marine Corps Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island Polytrauma due to falling Private Raheel Siddiqui, a twenty-year-old Marine recruit, died after falling from a 40-foot-high stairwell landing while running from Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Felix, a drill instructor who had previously hazed him by ordering him into an industrial clothes dryer several times, causing burns. Allegations also surfaced that Felix had harassed Siddiqui, who was a Muslim with Pakistani ancestry, on the basis of his religion, who called him a "terrorist." The drill instructor, Felix was charged in court-martial proceedings on a variety of charges, including cruelty and maltreatment.[169][170][171] He received a ten-year sentence for maltreatment, violation of a lawful general order and dereliction of duty, making a false official statement, and drunk and disorderly conduct.[172]
October 27, 2016 Ryan Abele Sigma Nu University of Nevada, Reno Alcohol intoxication Abele suffered a fatal head injury while intoxicated with alcohol (BAC 0.40). On October 16, 2016, Abele, 18, was a freshman pledge when he was woken up with the rest of his pledge class at 5:45 a.m. following a party. Abele was ordered "to get the fuck down the stairs" where he slipped and fell, rupturing the main artery to his brain. Upon arrival at the hospital at 7:00am his BAC was found to be .30. Abele died the following week.[173][174]
February 4, 2017 Tim Piazza Beta Theta Pi Pennsylvania State University Head injury Piazza, a 19-year-old pledge of the fraternity, died two days after falling down the stairs while intoxicated. He suffered a collapsed lung, ruptured spleen, and nonrecoverable brain injury following the fall. Paramedics were not summoned for nearly 12 hours. Piazza is estimated to have had a BAC of nearly .40 on the night of the fall.[175] In May 2017, following a grand jury investigation, eighteen members of the fraternity were charged in connection with the death: eight were charged with involuntary manslaughter and the rest with other offenses, including hazing.[176]
September 14, 2017 Maxwell Gruver Phi Delta Theta Louisiana State University Alcohol intoxication

(BAC 0.495)

Gruver, an 18-year old pledge from Roswell, Georgia, was taken to the hospital after an alleged drinking game hazing ritual known as "Bible Study".[3] He was pronounced dead the same day.[177] The cause of death was stated as being from "acute alcohol intoxication with aspiration".[3] He had a blood-alcohol level of 0.495 — equivalent to consuming 24 standard shots.[3]
November 3, 2017 Andrew Coffey Pi Kappa Phi Florida State University Alcohol intoxication

(BAC 0.558)

Coffey, a 20-year old pledge from Pompano Beach, Florida was discovered unresponsive Friday, November 3, after a house party occurred the previous night.[178] It was determined that Coffey died of alcohol poisoning after drinking an entire bottle of bourbon. The coroner estimates that his blood alcohol level was 0.558 at the time of death.[179]
November 12, 2018 Collin Wiant Sigma Pi Ohio University Asphyxia Wiant, a freshman at Ohio University, died of asphyxiation due to nitrous oxide ingestion from whipped-cream chargers, an alleged part of a hazing practice involving sleep deprivation, physical beating and the forced ingestion of alcohol and drugs.[180]
January 12, 2019 Noah Domingo Sigma Alpha Epsilon UC Irvine Alcohol intoxication Domingo, 18, had a blood alcohol level of approximately 0.331 when he died around 3:30 a.m. on January 12, 2019, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Department.[181]
March 17, 2019 Bea Castro Chi Sigma Phi California State University, Fullerton Alcohol intoxication On March 17, 2019, Bea Castro was allegedly plied with dangerous quantities of alcohol, hazed, while visibly incapacitated and suffering, was dropped on her head, held up and staged for photographs with a trash bag tied around her neck to catch her vomit, and left in a bedroom on her back, struggling to breathe while CSP members partied on. Castro was found in bed no longer breathing. EMS was not immediately summoned. Instead, friends carried her to the car and drove her to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead shortly after arrival of “acute ethanol intoxication” with a blood-alcohol content of 0.352. It was determined that Castro's blood-alcohol level was likely much higher hours earlier when she was alive and her body struggled to process the alcohol.
April 17, 2019 Sebastian Serafin-Bazan Sigma Pi University at Buffalo Cardiac Arrest Serafin-Bazan, 18, was found unresponsive on the lawn of the Sigma Pi house on April 12, 2019. He was pronounced dead five days later. According to Erie County District Attorney John Flynn, Serafin-Bazan was forced to perform several push-ups before collapsing.[182] Preliminary toxicology reports found no drugs or alcohol in his system.[183]
October 24, 2019 Antonio Tsialas Phi Kappa Psi Cornell University Polytrauma due to falling Tsialas, 18, was found dead in a gorge at Fall Creek on October 26, 2019, two days after attending a Christmas-themed frat party at Phi Kappa Psi. An autopsy found that Tsialas was drunk at the time of his death and had sustained multiple injuries. An investigation was unable to determine how Tsialas arrived at the gorge or the path he took after leaving the fraternity party. Phi Kappa Psi had been banned from hosting events at the time of Tsialas' death. In 2020, Cornell University settled a lawsuit with Tsialas' parents which included allegations of hazing. The district attorney declined to pursue any criminal charges relating to Tsialas' death.[184][185]
November 10, 2019 Dylan Hernandez Phi Gamma Delta San Diego State Apparent head injury Hernandez, 19, was reported to have attended an event at the Phi Gamma Delta house on November 6, 2019, then fell off his bed on the top bunk and hit his head; during the investigation, police uncovered information that alleges the fraternity was "involved in possible misconduct."[186]
November 12, 2019 Sam Martinez Alpha Tau Omega Washington State University Acute alcohol poisoning Martinez, 19, died on November 12, 2019, after attending the Alpha Tau Omega promised event's big/small night. His cause of death, according to the Whitman County Coroner, was "acute alcoholism." During the "Big/Little Secret Night," the other 14 defendants were suspected of giving alcohol to other promised members of the ATO Brotherhood.[187][188]


Date of death Victim Organization University Cause of Death Notes
July 16, 2020 Gracie LeAnn Dimit Kappa Phi Alpha Emory and Henry University Traffic collision Dimit and other sorority sisters partook in Emory and Henry College's 'The 500,' a tradition in which students would drive various streets near campus very quickly and dangerously, attempting to drift the cars. Dimit was sitting behind the driver's seat when a fishtail occurred and the car flipped into trees.[189]
February 27, 2021 Adam Oakes Delta Chi Virginia Commonwealth University Alcohol intoxication Oakes, a 19-year-old pledge, was told to consume large amounts of Jack Daniel's whiskey at a fraternity party the night of February 26, 2021. He was found dead the next morning.[190]
March 7, 2021 Stone Foltz Pi Kappa Alpha Bowling Green State University Alcohol intoxication

(BAC 0.394)[191]

Foltz, a 20-year-old pledge, was allegedly told to consume 'copious amounts' of alcohol on the night of March 4, 2021. He was found unconscious by his roommates and flown to a Toledo hospital where he was put on life support until his eventual death on March 7, 2021.[192][193][194]
October 18, 2021 Lofton Hazelwood FarmHouse University of Kentucky Alcohol intoxication In October 2021, the FarmHouse chapter at the University of Kentucky contacted campus police "regarding reports of an unresponsive student." The student, later identified as Thomas "Lofton" Hazelwood, was taken to UK Albert B. Chandler Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky, where he was pronounced dead. [195]
November 20, 2021 Phat Nguyen Pi Alpha Phi Michigan State University Alcohol intoxication Nguyen, a 21-year-old freshly admitted member of the fraternity was found unresponsive at 2 a.m. on November 20. In addition, four additional individuals were found unresponsive and transported to the local hospital. Despite performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation on Nguyen firefighters were unable to save him.[196][197][198]

See also[edit]


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External links[edit]