Last year in the US, four freshman students died as a direct result of hazing rituals during college fraternity initiation ceremonies. All the deaths occurred during or just after drinking bouts in which the victims consumed vast amounts of spirits in a short space of time while older students egged them on. One of the deceased, Maxwell Gruver, 19, a student at Louisiana State University, was found to have had a blood-alcohol level over .49 g/dl at the time of his death – just .31 is considered life-threatening.
“Nobody can physically drink that much … You have to be forced to drink it,” his mother told ABC news. “It’s senseless. I mean, how is making your brother do all these things, and humiliating somebody, a brotherhood?”
In his book True Gentlemen: The Broken Pledge of America’s Fraternities, John Hechinger notes that around 100,000 young men choose to be initiated into chapters annually, despite these all-male societies now being associated with what he describes as “the unholy trinity of fraternity life: racism, deadly drinking and misogyny”.
Many of the young men they attract will go on to work in politics, finance and law-making, sometimes at the highest level. What’s more, the loyalties formed will be maintained throughout a working life in which the male, white and privileged look out for each other whatever their transgressions.
read more at UK Guardian