Suicide Linked to Alleged Hazing at Penn State-Altoona/Phi Sigma Kappa

The Altoona Mirror has a detailed piece on the death of Marquise Braham, a freshman at Penn State-Altoona, that they connect to his hazing as a new member, and his involvement in hazing as a newly elected officer of the chapter. He died while home on Spring Break last Friday.

If that is the case, this is the first hazing-connected death of 2014. The chapter has been suspended pending the investigation.

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50 Hazing/Pledging Deaths Since 2000

This week’s death of Chun Hsien ‘Michael” Deng, a 19-year-old Baruch College student, from physical trauma while pledging Pi Delta Psi fraternity, has prompted me to share some information from a project I am working on looking closer at hazing deaths since 2000. Using information from Hank Nuwer’s list of hazing deaths, this is the 50th entry for a college student’s death from hazing/pledging since we moved into the 2000s.

Of those 50 deaths:

  • Four have been from Asian/Asian-Interest Fraternities.
  • Six have come from National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) chapters.
  • Nine are from unrecognized/suspended/local/sub-rosa groups.
  • Two are non-fraternity/sorority related.
  • 29 come from 17 different NIC member fraternities.
  • Five women have died, 45 men.
  • Four incidents have resulted in two deaths, one incident had four deaths.
  • Lambda Phi Epsilon, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, and Theta Chi have each had three deaths at three different campuses.
  • California State-Chico has had three deaths from three different incidents.
  • November (11) and February (9) are the deadliest times of the year.

Here are some details. You can check for additional information on Hank Nuwer’s list.

Non-Fraternity/Sorority (2)

Minnesota-Duluth Rugby

Florida A&M Band

Asian Fraternities (NAPA) (4)

Lambda Phi Epsilon

  • San Francisco State
  • UC-Irvine
  • Texas

Pi Delta Psi

  • Baruch College

NIC Member Fraternities (29)

Alpha Tau Omega

  • University of Georgia

Chi Psi

  • Colorado

Delta Kappa Epsilon

  • Yale (4)

Delta Tau Delta

  • Wabash College
  • Northern Colorado

Kappa Sigma

  • University of Miami

Phi Kappa Tau

  • Bradley University
  • Rider University

Phi Sigma Kappa

  • Maryland

Pi Kappa Alpha

  • Nevada – Reno
  • Northern Illinois

Pi Kappa Phi

  • California State – Chico

Sigma Alpha Epsilon

  • Texas
  • Cal Poly
  • Cornell

Sigma Alpha Mu

  • Delaware

Sigma Chi

  • Oklahoma

Sigma Nu

  • Utah State

Sigma Pi

  • California State – Chico

Tau Kappa Epsilon

  • San Diego State (2)
  • Radford University

Theta Chi

  • Indiana University
  • Lenoir-Rhyne College
  • Fresno State

Zeta Beta Tau

  • Alfred University

NPHC Fraternities/Sororities (6)

Alpha Kappa Alpha

  • California State – Los Angeles (2)

Delta Sigma Theta

  • East Carolina University (2)

Omega Psi Phi

  • Tennessee State

Phi Beta Sigma

  • Prairie View A&M

Unrecognized/Local/Sub Rosa/etc. (9)

Chi Tau

  • California State – Chico

Delta Gamma Iota

  • Vincennes University

Kappa Delta Rho

  • Lafayette College

Kappa Phi Theta

  • Rochester Institute of Technology

Men of Honor

  • Virginia State (2)

PIGS Drinking Club

  • SUNY – Geneseo

Psi Epsilon Chi

  • SUNY – Plattsburgh

Sigma Kappa Omega Sorority

  • Plymouth State (NH)

Summary by Year

  • 2000 – 2
  • 2001 – 4
  • 2002 – 7
  • 2003 – 8
  • 2004 – 2
  • 2005 – 3
  • 2006 – 1
  • 2007 – 1
  • 2008 – 5
  • 2009 – 2
  • 2010 – 3
  • 2011 – 3
  • 2012 – 5
  • 2013 – 4

Summary by Month

  • January – 5
  • February – 9
  • March – 3
  • April – 5
  • May – 1
  • August – 2
  • September – 5
  • October – 6
  • November – 11
  • December – 3
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Quick Links: Rolling Stone Article, Alabama, PKA at FIU, UNC, SF State, Fresno State, Alpha Delta at Dartmouth, TKE at Whitman

Rolling Stone article on “The Most Out-of-Control Fraternities in America.”“Sorority Girls Offered Free Drinks To Vote in Local Alabama Election”Chi Omega at the University of Alabama

Pi Kappa Alpha at Florida International University:

The Daily Tar Heel“3 IFC fraternities take social suspension”University of North Carolina

Golden Gate Express“Frat hazing death spurs alcohol responsibility program”Lambda Phi Epsilon at San Francisco State (Death of Peter Tran)

Fresno BeeFresno State delays fraternity-sorority ‘rush’ to curb alcohol abuse” – (Reaction to Philip Dhanens death in 2012 , Theta Chi)

The Daily CallerDartmouth cracks down on frat that hosted ghetto party”Alpha Delta Fraternity

Whitman Pioneer“Allegations of hazing leveled against TKE initiation practices”Tau Kappa Epsilon at Whitman College

USA Today“Hazing is never OK: Column”Cornell University

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Who Are Those Guys? The Class of 2017

The Beloit College Mindset List is out, this is my attempt to look for shared cultural experiences of the incoming class of college students. Feel free to share your insights so I can improve on the list and make adjustments. You might also be interested in the Language Mindset List from the Lingua Franca Blog at the Chronicle of Higher Education. There is also a group of academics who are actively opposed to the Mindset List, you can read about them at Inside HigherEd.


Welcome to the Class of 2017

This list is designed to complement the Beloit College Mindset List. Each year the Mindset List does a great job of helping us understand how quickly certain cultural touch points become dated. In many ways, it helps us understand who the entering college class is not. My hope is to better understand the cultural references and shared experiences that these students bring with them to campus.

Celebrity Classmates

With most of today’s entering college freshmen born in the second half of 1994, or the first half of 1995, here are some well-known names who (theoretically) could be joining them.

The Disney Channel

The Disney Channel played a major role in the developing years of these students. Beginning in 1997, The Disney Channel began its transition from Premium Cable to Basic Cable. This dramatically increased the availability of the channel and its programs. It also built strong personal connections between its young stars and its viewers.

Disney Channel’s High School Musical debuted in January of 2006, when the Class of 2017 was in the sixth grade. It was the highest rated show to ever appear on Disney Channel at the time, and widely influential with sing-a-long, dance-a-long, repeated showings, and a concert tour.


It is quite possible that the first movie that the Class of 2017 saw in a theater was Toy Story 2 (1999) or Monsters, Inc. (2001) (or possibly Rugrats in Paris.) With the release of Monsters U. this summer, the Class of 2017 closes the cycle from scared kids at 5 or 6, to a college movie today, with the same characters. (The same things happened with Toy Story 3.) Pixar Studios debuted with Toy Story in 1995, and the Class of 2017 has had a steady stream of highly acclaimed Pixar releases throughout their life.

Harry Potter & Twilight

The Harry Potter books and movies are likely seen as slightly older friends. The Class of 2017 was too young for the first several movies, and probably caught up on DVD and saw the later movies in theaters in their ten years. With this timing, this class is much less likely to have read the books before seeing the movies (if they ever read the books at all).

On the other hand the Twilight books became popular as these students were in middle school. They would have read the books, and then seen the movies in high school.

Popular Music & Television

The definition of popular music for the Class of 2017 is really hard to pinpoint. Disney acts, Hip Hop, Electronic Dance Music, Country, and more are part of the definition. Services like Pandora, Spotify, and internet radio allow them to narrow their focus. This results in fewer acts reaching the levels of awareness and stardom as in the past. One Direction and the Glee cast have probably been the most successful acts over their teen years.

Glee debuted in the Spring of 2009, just prior to the Class of 2017 starting high school. In addition to its influence on popular music, its depiction of high school included a wide variety of social issues that these students could connect with. It has been very influential among a significant portion of the Class of 2017.

Otherwise, the proliferation of cable networks and online options has meant that there are very few (if any) TV shows that are universally viewed. The highest rated shows are generally reality or sports.

Reality Television

While reality television (both competitive and voyeuristic) is commonplace these days, these students have been heavily influenced over their lifetime. While there is too much to cover everything, here are a couple of key notes:

  • 16 and Pregnant (MTV) – Debuted in the summer of 2009, as the Class of 2017 was getting ready to start their Freshman year.
  • Here Comes Honey Boo Boo (TLC), Duck Dynasty (A&E), Hoarders (A&E), HGTV, cooking shows, Jersey Shore (MTV), too many MTV & VH1 shows to name, etc.
  • Keeping Up With the Kardashians (E!) – Debuted in the Fall of 2007.


Beginning with NickToons, several animated TV shows have influenced the sense of humor for the Class of 2017. Beginning with the subtle subversion of Rugrats, these students have been exposed to multi-layered comedy. It is perhaps best represented in South Park, which has been a part of their lives for as long as most can remember. These students know all about Tommy, Chuckie and Angelica, as well as Kyle, Stan, Kenny and Cartman.

  • Rugrats (1991 to 2004) – From 1995 to 2000, it was the highest-rated show on Nickelodeon and the highest rated kids’ show,
  • Ren and Stimpy (1991 to 1998)
  • SpongeBob SquarePants (1999 to present)
  • South Park (1997 to present)

iPods, Cell Phones and Smart Phones

The iPod was introduced by Apple in late 2001, and the iTunes on-line music store came in early 2003. For many students, their entire music collection is digital and portable. They also have carried cell phones with them for most of their lives. In many cases this is out of parental concern following the Columbine massacre in 1999. It is not unusual to have students carrying two (or more) portable electronic devices with them at all times. Throughout their high school years these two devices have merged into one with the release of the iPhone, iPad and Android smart phones. It is noteworthy that actually talking to people via the phone is often the fourth or fifth most important feature on these devices (taking pictures, checking the time, e-mail, texting, Facebook, Twitter, games, music, etc.)


While it is still the most widely used social media outlet, interest is waning among teenagers. Teens report that it is too demanding to manage their accounts, privacy settings, and deal with “Facebook drama.” However, nothing has emerged to take the place of Facebook, so they feel a need to stay on Facebook, even as their usage is changing.  Twitter and Instagram are growing is usage. African-American teens use Twitter at a higher rate.

Three Presidents

The Class of 2017 was born during Bill Clinton’s first term as President. Essentially they have only known Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama as U.S President. By the way, most of the class was three or four during the height of the Clinton/Lewinsky Scandal in 1998.

Columbine and Virginia Tech

The massacre at Columbine (CO) High School happened in April of 1999, when these students were in pre-school, and the Virginia Tech shootings were at the end of their seventh grade year. Their high school years are now noted for the theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, and the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Hurricane Katrina

Hit the Gulf Coast and New Orleans in August of 2005. Had a significant impact on their sense of social responsibility. The Class of 2017 was starting fifth grade at the time.


It was the start of their first grade year when the 9/11 terrorist incident happened.


The Top Ten Names for U.S. born babies in 1994 & 1995: (from the Social Security Administration)


  1.  Michael            Jessica
  2.  Christopher       Ashley
  3.  Matthew           Emily
  4.  Joshua              Samantha
  5.  Tyler                 Sarah
  6.  Brandon           Taylor
  7.  Jacob                Brittany
  8.  Daniel              Amanda
  9.  Nicholas           Elizabeth
  10. Andrew            Megan


  1. Michael            Jessica
  2. Matthew           Ashley
  3. Christopher       Emily
  4. Jacob                Samantha
  5. Joshua              Sarah
  6. Nicholas           Taylor
  7. Tyler                 Hannah
  8. Brandon           Brittany
  9. Daniel              Amanda
  10. Austin              Elizabeth


  1. Jacob                Sophia
  2. Mason             Emma
  3. Ethan                Isabella
  4. Noah                Olivia
  5. William            Ava
  6. Liam                 Emily
  7. Jayden             Abigail
  8. Michael            Mia
  9. Alexander         Madison
  10. Aiden               Elizabeth
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NIU/PKA Update: New Info in Bogenberger Civil Case

The Dekalb Daily Chronicle has a story with information from the updated lawsuit filing connected to the death of David Bogenberger during a “Mom’s and Dad’s” night event at the Pi Kappa Alpha chapter house at Northern Illinois University.

The article also provides a link to read or download the full text of the filing. In addition to the National fraternity and the local chapter, the lawsuit names 44 individuals, including 16 women participating as “Mom’s.”

The listing of “Statement of Facts” in the lawsuit provides a detailed timeline of the events leading to Bogenberger’s death as alleged by the plaintiffs. It is a very disturbing listing of events indicating that the primary purpose of the event was to intoxicate the pledges to the point of passing out and vomiting. While Bogenberger died with a .351 BAC, it also appears that all of the pledges were put in a very dangerous situation. From the article:

“Each pledge consumed three to five four-ounce glasses of vodka in each of seven rooms of the house within about 90 minutes, the lawsuit alleges. The organizers then took the pledges, who by that time weren’t able to walk on their own, to the basement, where they received T-shirts and paddles, as well as buckets decorated by the “Greek moms,” to be used to get sick in. Many pledges were sick that night, the complaint states.

As they lost consciousness, the pledges were placed on makeshift beds in the kitchen and hallway floors, or in their “Greek dads’ ” rooms, the lawsuit alleges. About 11 p.m. Nov. 1, a fraternity officer sent a mass text message to fraternity members ordering them to delete photographs and videos of pledges who were unconscious.”

The next scheduled court date is September 18th.

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Recommended Reading: Dr. Gentry McCreary on Addressing Hazing at the Federal Level

Dr. Gentry McCreary, Associate Dean of Students at the University of West Florida, has started his blogging career with a post responding to issues surrounding the recent articles and concerns about the Fraternity & Sorority PAC and federal hazing law. His post includes links to the articles and the response from FSPAC. Please read and comment directly on his blog.

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Summer Updates: Tennessee/AZ State/TKE-San Marcos/SAM-Ohio St./Phi Delt-Emory/Kappa Sig-Colorado

As we hit the end of July, the dog days of Summer are over. August will bring the start of a new academic year, and the expected cycle of regular news stories in the fraternity/sorority world. The first batch will likely hit in mid-August and be about the record numbers of women signed up at early recruitment schools.

For now, I need to clean out my files:

The University of Tennessee has begun implementation of new policies and procedures that resulted from an examination of the community following the butt-chugging incident last fall (AP via Dayton Daily News). Among the changes are required fraternity house directors, higher GPA standards, and enhanced security on weekends. The University is also considering a medical amnesty/Good Samaritan policy for reporting concerns and seeking help in cases of alcohol poisoning.

The Arizona Board of Regents has sent a letter to over 70 national fraternal organizations over concerns about wide-spread bad behavior at Arizona State chapters in the past year ( The University had several high profile incidents in the past year, including the unusual death of an SAE pledge in the fall, and an alcohol incident in the Spring that drew national attention.

A member of Tau Kappa Epsilon at Cal State-San Marcos was sentenced to a year in jail for election fraud as he sought to be elected as student government president (The Daily Beast). He used stolen log in information to cast hundreds of votes for himself in the election.

Sigma Alpha Mu at Ohio State has been suspended by the University and its national organization, and removed from its fraternity house (The Lantern). The article cites a “failure to comply with university or civil authority, alcohol and disorderly or disruptive conduct sections of the Student Code of Conduct,” for the closure. It also includes a letter to the editor critical of OSU’s involvement, however it appears that the suspension by SAM was actually harsher.

Emory University has suspended their Phi Delta Theta chapter for hazing violations during the Spring semester (Emory Wheel). The Dean of Students indicated that the hazing “including requiring pledges to participate in a ‘fight club,’ consume ‘unusual amounts’ of items ‘that are not typical for eating,’ sleep on the floor of the house basement in just their boxers with no pillow or blanket and consume alcohol.”

In a rather unusual story, the Aspen Daily News reports that the Kappa Sigma chapter at the University of Colorado is suing a luxury hotel in Aspen for overcharging them for damages during a formal in the Fall. According to the article the overcharge happened “following a three-day event that drew a police presence and has since become ‘notorious’ among staff at the upscale hotel.”

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