In December 2013, Chun ‘Michael’ Deng passed away, the result of a fraternity hazing ritual. During a weekend retreat to the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania, brothers from
the chapter blindfolded Deng and ordered him to wear a heavy backpack filled with sand. They instructed him and his pledge class to carry it across a snowy field at a fraternity house, while brutally tackling him. The brothers delayed seeking medical assistance, and he died soon after.
Just a few weeks ago, a grand jury indicted over three-dozen of the fraternity members with crimes relating to Deng’s death. Many of these individuals face charges of third-degree murder, aggravated assault, and hazing. In addition, various brothers, as well as the
president of the national fraternity at the time, are accused of trying to cover-up the crime. This decision to prosecute represents a landmark case in holding fraternities accountable for their actions. It is no secret that many Greek organizations, as well as various other groups, face major issues relating to hazing. However, as the media continues to release new stories, solutions to these problems seem even more uncertain.
From my perspective, holding individuals and organizations accountable is the first step towards invoking meaningful change. It is essential that students, professionals, and other stakeholders in educational institutions take immediate action to eliminate hazing and other harmful behaviors.