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.
While I wish retiring University of Nebraska Chancellor Harvey Perlman well, and commend him for accomplishments in academics and athletics during his long tenure, I respectfully and strongly must speak out against his defense of a UNL tradition that certainly qualifies as a hazing practice. See Video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LuOHgTpPs8g&feature=youtu.be
Perlman recently defended the senior UNL society known as the Innocents Society, a group that “welcomes” select newcomers each year with a “voluntary” tackle on an open field.
“Tackling somebody in an open field when they know it’s going to happen, and happen once, is just not the definition of hazing as we define it,” Perlman told media representatives.
Why yes it is. Which is why many sports teams have gotten rid of such barbaric and dated customs as “Freshman Kill Day” for soccer and “Senior Hit Day” in football. Like all hazing acts, there is real peer pressure on the newcomers and veteran organization members alike to continue the status quo.
I, for one, wonder if school and team insurance would cover a crippling injury should an “Innocent” newcomer or old timer suffer a concussion or a broken leg…or worse. Almost certainly, the university that Perlman has represented would lose millions in a civil lawsuit should a life-threatening injury to spine, head or neck occur. Let us remember that Theta Chi pledge Harrison Kowiak lost his life playing a “mock” football ritual like this after he was tackled and his head hit the groend.
Don’t get me wrong, I heartily applaud such distinguished service organizations such as the Innocents, and their long distinguished history and all the now-distinguished members who now are alums.
But tackling someone to get into an organization is risky, wrong and absolutely an act of hazing.
That ritual needs to retire along with Chancellor Perlman.