I’ve blogged on this topic before. This time the hazing death occurred in North Carolina and instead of alcohol poisoning being the cause, it was repeated tackling by members of the Theta Chi Fraternity at Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory, North Carolina. 19-year-old Harrison Kowiak of Tampa, Florida died last fall of serious brain hemorrhage after he suffered trauma to his head.
Harrison’s parents have filed suit against the fraternity because they feel that the organization needs to be held accountable for this senseless death. Their suit contends that Harrison and another pledge were told to walk across a field on an off-campus farm while wearing light colored clothes. Fraternity members, wearing dark clothes, then repeatedly tackled the two which they contend caused Harrison’s head injury.
Harrison was relatively small at 160 pounds compared to some of those doing the tackling, some believed to be university football players weighing in excess of 250 pounds. To make matters worse, it does not appear that the fraternity members immediately realized how seriously Harrison was hurt. They tried to get him to stand and walk but he collapsed. Harrison was then driven to a local hospital where fraternity members lied and said that he was injured during a flag-football game on-campus; despicable. Harrison died at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte the next day.
This is just one more example of the dangers of hazing. In its many forms, hazing can cause all manner of injuries and as we have seen all too often, it can lead to the extermination of young lives. It must be stopped.
Bret Hanna of Wrona DuBois in Utah, focuses exclusively on litigating plaintiffs’ medical malpractice and catastrophic personal injury cases. He has represented clients in state and federal courts, in mediations, and in administrative proceedings in Michigan and Utah since 1991.