Editorial: Hazing - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Editorial: Hazing

The following is an editorial from FOX6 WBRC-TV General Manager Lou Kirchen, first aired on Tuesday, September 25, 2012:

Bullying is barbaric.  Hazing is bullying.  Hazing takes many forms…at the very least, it is demeaning and at its worst, it has resulted in death.   In fact, according to hazing expert Hank Nuwer, a professor at Franklin College in Indiana there have been 104 documented deaths due to hazing, since 1970. The current trend is that there is at least one hazing death every year.  Eighty per cent of hazing deaths involve alcohol.

The practice of hazing preys on our basic need to belong…to be part of what we believe to be a desirable and enviable group.  A college freshman, newly separated from family and pre-college friends, is especially vulnerable to this…"Are you worthy?" ploy.

Ironically, many social organizations who practice hazing, also very proudly tout their community-based good deeds.   Certainly, most hazing does not result in death, but there have been enough injuries, both physical and emotional, that some universities have taken strong measures to prohibit it.

I have no problem with organizations expecting newly minted members to perhaps work harder than its veterans to prove their worthiness and commitment to the organization…but abuse of any kind is not acceptable!  Hazing is bullying.  What do you think?

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