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Fraternities face lawsuits when hazing goes too far

The antics associated with Greek life have been immortalized in countless comedy movies about the college experience, including the infamous “Animal House.” Although this is not the case with every such group, fraternities are especially associated with excessive alcohol consumption, wild partying and hazing rituals for pledges.

Do these practices go too far? In some cases, the answer is undeniably “yes.” Recently, a student who attends the State University of New York at Oswego filed a personal injury lawsuit for serious injuries he allegedly suffered during a fraternity hazing ritual. After allegedly being kicked repeatedly while lying on the ground, the plaintiff suffered injuries that included internal bleeding and a ruptured spleen.

While this particular fraternity is recognized by SUNY-Oswego, it apparently has a “notorious reputation for unlawful and unruly behavior,” according to the lawsuit. The group participates in hazing rituals despite the fact that such practices are banned by the university and the state penal code.

This is not the first time that a fraternity’s practices have resulted in serious injury or death, nor is it the first such lawsuit. In recent years, a number of fraternity pledges and members have died as a result of alcohol poisoning, extensive hazing injuries and other reckless behavior.

Most fraternities and sororities foster valuable experiences, positive social connections and lifelong friendships. These are the groups that make Greek life a truly worthwhile part of the college experience. But there are also fraternities and sororities that arguably do more harm than good, both to individuals and the community as a whole. Schools would be wise to forcibly disband such groups for the betterment of the rest of the student body.

Source: Courthouse News Service, "Frat Pledge Says Hazing Ruptured His Spleen," Marlene Kennedy, July 14, 2014

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