"Wrongs of Passage" is about the breakdown of common sense, civility, and leadership in major areas of American college life. What forces young men and women to accept inhuman, degrading rituals in order to belong to a social club, sorority, or ...
fraternity? Are they the same forces that have made college binge drinking a national epidemic? Why do college administrators and Greek fraternities and sororities continue to allow practices that frequently lead to death or permanent psychological damage? Why are black fraternities more prone to violent rites of passage than their white counterparts? Is it inevitable that today's victims will become tomorrow's hazers? How can we help our youth achieve a mature, self-confident, individual adulthood? These are some of the questions dealt with in Hank Nuwer's hard-hitting, heart-felt investigation. Nuwer first wrote about hazing in 1978 in an article entitled "The Dead Souls of Hell Week." His first book, "Broken Pledges", appeared in 1990, and tells the story of the alcohol-related death of Chuck Stenzel at Alfred University. He had hoped that book, like Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle", would lead to an end of the many related problems involved in hazing and binge drinking. It did not. In "Wrongs of Passage" he has provided a much broader look at the problems of hazing and binge drinking, including legal and historical perspectives and case studies. You will learn in detail about: Chad Saucier, a Phi Delta Theta pledge at Auburn University, dead of binge drinking in 1991; Amanda Jones, marked for success at Widener University, Pennsylvania, a Phi Mu pledge, broken psychologically by the experience; Gabriel Higgins, successful student at the University of Texas, until he pledged the Texas Cowboys (whose graduates include Senator Lloyd Bensten and Dallas Cowboys coach Tom Landry), dead in a drinking accident in 1995; Joseph Jeremy Snell, a pledge of Omega Psi Phi, at the University of Maryland, one of several pledges who needed hospital attention for broken bones and other injuries; Jessica Zimmerman, a Kappa Kappa Gamma pledge at DePauw University in Indiana, quit pledging when her Big Sister insisted on branding her with a cigarette. Nuwer takes us back to Plato (who complained of hazing rituals among Athenian boys)and gives us a historical overview of the phenomenon in various institutions and at various times in history. We also get a history of the growth of fraternities and sororities in North America and many of the wrongs, including death, which were perpetuated in the name of initiating new members. A detailed, final chapter, offers a list of strategies for society in general, parents, college administrators, fraternities, and the police for combating these demeaning and dangerous practices. A detailed chronology lists the recorded deaths from hazing activities in this country from 1838 to the present. Amherst College, Cornell University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the United States Military Academy, Kenyon College, Purdue University, the University of Kentucky, Northwestern University, the University of Southern California, Georgetown College, Baylor, and many more-a national litany of failure. An appendix lists where concerned individuals can find help and information.