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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Greek Life or Death


Chun “Michael” Deng, a nineteen-year-old freshman at Baruch College in New York, pledged to the Pi Delta Psi fraternity in hopes of forming lifelong friendships among his fellow brothers. Like most college students who decide to join a fraternity or sorority, they are bright, eager, and excited to become a part of a community built on trust and unity. But Michael Deng suffered from a harsher reality. On a cold, December night, Michael Deng—one of the many other victims of hazing—was blindfolded and forced to trek through an icy field while bearing the weight of a backpack filled with thirty pounds of sand (Reuters). Without his sight, Michael was immediately made vulnerable as he aimlessly trudged across the frozen ground, bearing the crushing weight of the backpack added to his shoulders. Then without warning, he was plowed to the ground by an overwhelming impact, his body and the extra thirty pounds slamming against the dirt. Still blind and now fear-stricken, Michael did not understand what was going on until he was tackled again—and again. Attacked and beaten incessantly by his “brothers”, Michael was then tackled from a 15-20 foot running start, causing him to forcibly collapse to the ground, knocking him unconscious (Reuters). One hour passed before Michael was taken to the hospital. By the time medical assistance reached him, he was already brain dead (Reuters).

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