Longtime Database-Keeper Hank Nuwer on Hazing: It’s Not Going Away

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Though never hazed as a college athlete or team manager himself, Hank Nuwer has had an interest in hazing ever since he, as the University of Nevada-Reno’s graduate student president, witnessed a student frothing at the mouth under a pool table from excess alcohol consumption. It was an episode that Nuwer didn’t report to police and, subsequently, the same group of perpetrators hazed and killed a football player. It was 1975, and Nuwer began compiling a database of hazing-related fatalities — the Unofficial Hazing Clearinghouse — that he still maintains today. A former Human Behavior and Inside Sports reporter and the current managing editor of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner in Alaska, the 77-year-old has also authored five nonfiction books on hazing, one fictional novel, and too many book chapters and articles to count. AB senior editor Paul Steinbach, having posted two unrelated hazing accounts to AB Today on July 19, talked to Nuwer — who was working on an introduction for the forthcoming scholarly book Hazing In The New Millenia — about the persistence of a practice that can ruin careers and end lives.

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