In the past month, at least four young men have died in circumstances apparently related to college fraternities. Two of those deaths have come this week alone. At least three young men had also died the previous semester.
If that seems like a lot, Hank Nuwer, an author who chronicles these types of deaths, has some unfortunate news. Since 2017, that number of fraternity deaths annually has become the new normal.
Despite policy changes from universities and frats, a slew of anti-hazing laws and activism from the dead students’ parents, the trend shows no sign of changing. Nuwer laments that many young men see hazing as a “requirement for manhood.”
The deaths come at a time when families, universities and fraternities are struggling to decide how to address the toxic behavior sometimes associated with these organizations. Many supporters say frats’ volunteer service, fundraising, and sense of community outweigh the bad behaviors. But people increasingly are drawing connections between the high-profile incidents that leave young men dead, and more of them are putting the blame on fraternities’ culture of hazing.