Attorney David Bianchi’s alma mater, Boston College Law School, recently featured him in an article about his crusade to end harmful and damaging hazing practices. The article notes that 56 fraternity pledges have died performing hazing rituals in the last 20 years, usually as a result of alcohol abuse under the guise of initiation traditions. This year has been especially harmful: there have been five hazing deaths this academic year alone—twice the average number since 2000.
The article makes a note of our history with hazing results in court—dozens of cases, multi-million-dollar judgments for the families left behind—but it also discusses Mr. Bianchi’s larger mission: to end the accelerating trend of young people dying during hazing rites.
“Most recently, he spent a month last fall traveling the state, speaking to thousands of fraternity and sorority members about the dangers of hazing,” the report says about Mr. Bianchi’s and Mr. Levine’s recent lecture tour to educate faculty and students about Andrew’s Law.
The article also underscores how high the stakes are, now more than ever.
“It’s gotten worse over time, not better,” the article quotes Mr. Bianchi. “It’s simply the result of having young people go away from home, and live in a house unsupervised, where alcohol is put into the mix.”
Andrew’s Law a ‘Cutting Edge’ Response to Hazing
The Boston College article also reveals what some experts have made of Andrew’s Law, specifically its immunity provision for people who call for emergency medical help for hazing victims:
“Experts call Andrew’s Law one of the ‘most cutting-edge' responses in the country...Meantime, Andrew’s Law poses criminal penalties for those who had a role in planning hazing activities, even if they weren’t at the scene of a tragedy.” The article went on to tell the Andrew Coffey story, about how a young man was forced to drink an entire bottle of bourbon and died of alcohol poisoning while surrounded by classmates and fraternity members. Andrew’s Law was not only named in his honor but designed to prevent what happened to him from happening to anyone else.
“One phone call could spare another family the grief we now endure every day,” Sandra Coffey is quoted as saying. “Our family would rather be passing out hugs and shaking hands for someone doing what is right, than watching them go to jail for standing by and doing nothing.”
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