Fraternity Hazing Lawyers

Helping Victims of Fraternity Hazing Nationwide

Hazing isn't limited to Greek life, but fraternity hazing is what most people visualize when they think of the word "hazing"—and in many ways, it typifies everything tragic and infuriating about it.

All hazing relies on some form of coercion, but fraternity hazing preys specifically on a person's need to belong. Many fraternity hazing deaths happen to "pledges," or people who are working to earn their way into the tribe. The way they usually earn it is through acts of "courage" (read: acts of humiliation, exposure, alcohol abuse, and submission to a senior member of the fraternity).

Fraternity hazing is more insidious than general hazing for another reason: few people see it for what it is. College authorities and parents do nothing about fraternity hazing because it's one of the only culturally-accepted forms of bullying. If a coach was forcing would-be athletes to drink excessively to get onto the baseball team, he'd be recognized for the heinous predator that he is.

But when put in the context of a fraternity, of brotherhood, then that same abusive coercion becomes "character-building." It becomes "tradition." These are the words used to shield fraternity hazing from a cultural reckoning—or at least, it was. Now parents are seeing fraternity hazing for what it is: a wasteful, tragic, and utterly needless component of college life.

Giving Our Youth a Voice Against Abuse & Coercion

Fraternity hazing is a heinous, widespread form of abuse that few people can identify and even fewer people have spoken out against. See if you can note a pattern in the deaths of the young people below—all of whom were 18-20 when they died.

  • Chad Meredith (2001)
    Kappa Sigma. Drowned 34 ft. from shore after a night of drinking. His "brothers" demanded the drunken swim. He inspired the law that made hazing a felony in Florida.
  • Andrew Coffey (2017)
    Pi Kappa Phi. Was killed by toxic alcohol consumption during a fraternity ritual that forced Andrew to drink an entire bottle of hard liquor.
  • Maxwell Gruver (2017)
    Phi Delta Theta. Killed by alcohol poisoning and aspiration during a ritual called "Bible Study."
  • Tim Piazza (2017)
    Beta Theta Pi. Died after falling down the stairs while drunk after a night of ritualized drinking.
  • Ryan Abele (2016)
    Sigma Nu. Killed by slipping and falling when his "brothers" yelled at him to get down the stairs following a long night of drinking.
  • Nolan Burch (2014)
    Kappa Sigma. Died from excessive alcohol consumption and was found with blue coloration on his face during an initiation ritual.
  • Tucker Hipps (2014)
    Sigma Phi Epsilon. Died from head injuries when he fell from a bridge into a shallow lake. An anonymous witness said he was forced to walk the narrow railing of the bridge before his fall.

What Is Fraternity Hazing & Why Is It Lethal?

Hazing is a form of social conditioning used to coerce, abuse, and humiliate young people into putting themselves at tremendous, meaningless risk. Fraternities use it to weaponize our deepest desire: our need for community. By turning initiates into puppets, modern fraternities subvert and mock the 'values' their organizations stand for. The hazing lawyers at Stewart Tilghman Fox Bianchi & Cain won't allow hazing to go unpunished—we won't allow the harm of our children at the hands of 'clubs' sanctioned by universities looking the other way. Our firm is responsible for the largest single verdict ever awarded in a hazing case—a verdict that helped bring justice to the death of Chad Meredith. Our firm is responsible for helping the Coffey family find justice in the wake of his death.

If your child was harmed or killed by fraternity hazing, speak with our attorneys to learn what you can do about it—how you can hold negligent fraternity leaders accountable for your loss. Call (305) 770-6335.

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