How the world’s scientists are coming together serves as a model for anti-hazing efforts

The following post for StopHazing was written by author and anti-hazing activist Hank Nuwer. For more information on Hank, check out his website at www.hanknuwer.com.

These are tough times for all the world’s men and women. Without any self-whining or too many details, my wife and I have been affected. I chose to hand in my letter of retirement to Franklin College early this year before any of our public officials announced the realistic grim projections for the disease. WE have to find new housing out of state at a time all travel is restricted, and I, not a Polish citizen, cannot get to our safe haven, a cabin in a remote woods in Poland. Neither of us can get to our adopted state of Alaska since we are technically non-residents in spite of our summer 20 acres. But more than enough of my wife Gosia and me.

We are hopeful. Yes, hopeful.

What heartens me is the way scientists across the nation have foregone personal glory and scientific honors to share information on the coronavirus’s genetic makeup and other research findings. Here’s a short blurb from April 1st’s New York Times–and by the way, here is a shoutout to my journalistic brothers and sisters worldwide that have more than stepped up to inform all citizens about virus prevention.

While political leaders have locked their borders, scientists have been shattering theirs, creating a global collaboration unlike any in history. Never before, researchers say, have so many experts in so many countries focused simultaneously on a single topic and with such urgency. Nearly all research, other than anything related to coronavirus, has ground to a halt.

Normal imperatives like academic credit have been set aside. Online repositories make studies available months ahead of journals. Researchers have identified and shared hundreds of viral genome sequences. More than 200 clinical trials have been started, bringing together hospitals and laboratories around the globe.

On a recent morning, for example, scientists at the University of Pittsburgh discovered that a ferret exposed to Covid-19 particles had developed a high fever — a potential advance toward animal vaccine testing. Under ordinary circumstances, they would have started work on an academic journal article.

“But you know what? There is going to be plenty of time to get papers published,” said Paul Duprex, a virologist leading the university’s vaccine research. Within two hours, he said, he had shared the findings with scientists around the world on a World Health Organization conference call. “It is pretty cool, right? You cut the crap, for lack of a better word, and you get to be part of a global enterprise.”

Dr. Duprex’s lab in Pittsburgh is collaborating with the Pasteur Institute in Paris and the Austrian drug company Themis Bioscience. The consortium has received funding from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation, a Norway-based organization financed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and a group of governments, and is in talks with the Serum Institute of India, one of the largest vaccine manufacturers in the world.

Yes, this heartens me and makes me confident that this virus, this monster, can be struck down and conquered. It makes me determined to join the fight against the wildlife trade that has put this virus into the now-dead and sickened bodies of suffering souls worldwide.

Like other hazing researchers, for decades they and I have said “good science is the only way to defeat hazing.”* This is why I founded the Hazing Research unit at Buffalo State College’s Special Collections under the tireless archivist Daniel DiLandro and why I publish information here about gains in hazing research by Elizabeth Allan of the University of Maine and numerous others. This is why I came back from a self-imposed short retirement to begin my research into the history of hazing and to create additional research into how many deaths have been caused by hazing.  I hope we don’t lose sight of the need to end hazing deaths even as we all pray for an end to so many other deaths in this brutal pandemic.

Blessings and stay healthy. Be kind to one another. Help whoever you can.  –Hank Nuwer, USA and Poland

*For an introduction to the importance of good research into fraternity and sorority life, I recommend you read online THE NECESSITY FOR RESEARCH ON FRATERNITY/SORORITY CULTURE by Patrick Biddix, Oracle Editor.

Former MLB player Gregg Zaun claims he was violently hazed by Cal Ripken Jr

This weekend, former MLB player Gregg Zaun spoke about violent hazing that he experienced as a first-year player on the Baltimore Orioles from Cal Ripken Jr. According to Zaun, Ripken and others repeatedly physically assaulted him, wrote “rookie” on his forehead, shoved ice down his pants, and forced him to miss batting practice. Zaun reports Ripken to be the leader of these hazing behaviors, a notable detail since Ripken released an anti-bullying book in 2013.

Following these statements, Zaun took to twitter to offer a “sorry if anyone was offended” non-apology for his remarks which glorified and advocated for hazing in “any industry”. Fortunately, numerous MLB fans have been quick to speak up and counter Zaun’s “boys will be boys” minimization and justification of hazing, as shown below. With numerous, high profile examples of hazing in sport occurring recently, it is our hope that if Cal Ripken Jr was indeed involved in the hazing incidents that Zaun described that he will come forward, directly address his past mistakes, and use his considerable influence in youth sport to advocate for anti-hazing programming and awareness. We also hope that this controversy will provide an opportunity for Zaun to reflect and realize that his experience with hazing is not universal. Hazing can cause serious emotional, psychological, and physical harm and therefore has no place in sport or society.

Sayreville Case: Yet Another “Wake Up Call” for Hazing

Not all assault is hazing, but make no mistake, assault is one of the many weapons used in the hazing arsenal as clearly illustrated in the recent Sayreville case. In the days following news coverage of the Sayreville High School football team, many struggled to make sense of the reports. Why were “good kids” involved in something like this? How could these reported behaviors occur under the noses of the coaches? Why wasn’t it reported sooner? And some wondered, why was this incident hazing? Beginning with this last question, this is the first in a series of blog posts in response to each of these important questions.

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Ben & Jerry’s Keeps Hazed and Confused Brand

mn7njw6ir0u0rtfjz1laThe following post for StopHazing was written by author and anti-hazing activist Hank Nuwer. For more information on Hank, check out his website at www.hanknuwer.com.

The Florida parents of Harrison Kowiak, the young golfer killed during a violent physical hazing incident at Lenoir Rhyne University, received unwelcome news today from Ben & Jerry’s executives.

The Burlington, Vermont ice cream giant known previously for its professed concern in social matters has rejected a plea from Brian and Lianne Kowiak to change the name of its “Hazed and Confused” ice cream flavor.

“Very sadly, Ben & Jerry’s moral compass is pointing the wrong way,” said Brian Kowiak after receiving the corporate giant’s decision in a conference call. “It is obviously pointing towards the motivation for corporate profits and not morality. “

The bad news was delivered by Ben & Jerry’s company spokesperson Sean Greenwood, but Brian Kowiak was hardly surprised, although disappointed, to learn that the flavor would continue to be packaged and sold without a name change.

This afternoon, the Global Leadership team and B and J Board of Directors Jeff Furman, Pierre Ferrari, Jennifer Henderson, Jostein Solheim and Terry Mollner let the Kowiaks know that Hazed and Confused will remain on its list of available flavors.

Ironically, high school hazing has been prominently in the news of late.

–In Burlington, Vermont, home of Ben & Jerry’s, embarrassed Milton School District officials apologized after conceding they had inappropriately addressed a hazing incident. Most disturbing, the parents of Jordan Preavy, 17, said his suicide came on the heels of a sexual hazing at the Vermont institution.

–In New Jersey, the town of Sayreville was thrown into anguish this month as the news spread that freshman players allegedly had been digitally penetrated by up to seven seniors who now face serious charges in court following their arrests.

–Hazing deaths have now occurred on college campuses every year from 1970 to 2014, according to my research at Hanknuwer.com.

“Sean’s entire focus was that B&J did not have a purposeful intent to promote hazing, so they will not change the flavor name,” conceded Brian Kowiak today. “The point he avoided was the unintentional implications of the chosen name.”

Following the conference call, the Kowiaks have requested that the company submit its reasoning for refusing to change its brand’s name.

In the opinion of the Kowiaks, a nationally respected corporate giant had the opportunity to take the high road and send a national message that hazing is no lighthearted matter, particularly with Jordan Preavy’s suicide in its own back yard.

It will take more than a spoonful of sugar to make this decision understandable for families like the Kowiaks who had hoped for a name change.

At least one former Ben & Jerry’s customer has said he’ll find an alternative corporate choice following the refusal of the corporate giant to budge. “I saw this flavor in the Indianapolis Meijer store on Southport Road when looking for high-carb, high-fat escapism,” said Ray Begovich of Franklin, Indiana. “I escaped to a different, and cheaper brand. You may quote me.”

StopHazing Statement on Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Flavor “Hazed & Confused”

Ben & Jerry’s — Please don’t ruin your ice cream’s appeal with poor taste!

Okay, we get it – but the name of your new flavor is not cute, clever or funny, because being “hazed” isn’t about harmless antics and pranks.

In a formal response to complaints about the ice cream flavor “Hazed and Confused,” Ben & Jerry’s excuses the name by saying it’s simply a “pun.” The common definition of a pun is a “joke exploiting different meanings of a word.”   B & J points out that “hazed and confused” is a reference to pop culture’s “Dazed and Confused” and the use of hazelnuts in the ice cream.  But regardless of these intended associations, the name is also a reference to hazing — and hazing is not a joking matter.

B & J’s choice to use “hazed” in the name of an ice cream flavor promotes an association between 1) the idea of hazing or being hazed and 2) the idea of something fun and enjoyable:  ice cream.  To be clear, hazing is defined as “any activity expected of someone joining a group (or maintaining membership) in a group that humiliates, degrades, abuses, and/or risks physical harm.”  Those who understand what hazing is, and have seen the damage it can create–including lost lives–know that hazing should not be confused with fun.

So what now?

Since Ben & Jerry’s is a “values-based company” and (according to their formal response) agrees that “hazing and bullying have no place in society,” we see an opportunity for the company leadership to act with integrity and rectify this issue. Words are hollow without actions to back them up. If “hazing has no place in society,” why should it have a place in our ice cream cones?

We at StopHazing love ice cream and want to continue to enjoy Ben & Jerry’s with a good conscience.  Please don’t disappoint us. Ben & Jerry’s, we ask you to maintain our confidence in your forward-thinking company by using this as an opportunity to educate the public about the problem of hazing and to move quickly to find a new name for your hazelnut ice cream.  We would gladly offer you our assistance in making these adjustments and informing your consumers.

Thank you!

StopHazing.org