TortsProf Blog

Editor: Christopher J. Robinette
Widener Commonwealth Law School

Monday, November 27, 2017

Parks on Tort Law and Fraternity and Sorority Hazing

Gregory Parks (Wake Forest) has a piece in The Huffington Post about the tort duties of fraternities and sororities with regard to hazing.  The issue is relevant in Pennsylvania due to the February death of a pledge at a Penn State fraternity.  Stacy Parks Miller, the Centre County District Attorney, has been aggressive in prosecuting numerous members of the now-defunct fraternity where the death occurred.  The pledge is on tape (the tape having been recovered by the FBI after allegedly being deleted by a fraternity member) being given 18 drinks in 82 minutes.  Other footage shows fraternity members not seeking help during the course of an entire night for the unconscious pledge who suffered several falls. 

Parks focuses on tort law.  After discussing custom in the "industry," Parks continues:

Regarding hazing, fraternities and sororities have reached a point—and probably did so long ago—when what is expected of them should be heightened. No longer should they be able to say that they’ve done their best or that their approaches are consistent with others in their industry. At its most basic level, what should be expected of fraternities and sororities is that they have harnessed, internalized, and employed the totality of research on hazing. They must also engage with hazing researchers and consultants who employ hazing research and hazing prevention best-practices. You can’t say that you’ve adequately attempted to address hazing and are grossly ignorant of the research on the topic and haven’t engaged with those grappling with the issue.

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/tortsprof/2017/11/parks-on-tort-law-and-fraternity-and-sorority-hazing.html

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