Despite the many warnings, injuries and even fatalities surrounding university hazing rituals, it seems that this harmful and juvenile practice continues to be a problem in colleges in Ohio and across the country. The recent death of a fraternity pledge was the catalyst to a decision that some do not agree with, while Ohio University officials believe it is necessary to get the point across that this behavior is intolerable.
Last May, an Ohio University freshman died during an alleged hazing ritual with the Sigma Pi fraternity. According to NBC News, the student asphyxiated when fraternity members reportedly forced him to ingest nitrous oxide. The young man’s parents have filed a wrongful death lawsuit, and the university expelled Sigma Pi as a result.
Now, Ohio University officials have suspended all 15 of its fraternities after people accused seven chapters of hazing recently. They defend their decision by stating the action was necessary, since the death of a student was not enough to deter the practice. Fraternity supporters, on the other hand, claim that suspending the fraternities unjustly punishes members who have not broken any rules.
Students should be able to join university academic organizations and athletic teams without fear of being harmed by their fellow members. It remains to be seen whether the university’s decision will foster safer attitudes about pledging rituals in the future. People who are harmed by the negligent or criminal actions of others may have the right to pursue compensation against those responsible, which includes filing a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of a loved one.