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Volume 23 • Number 2

April 2009



On Hazing

by Michael J. Cholbi

In the early morning hours of February 2, 2005, twenty-one-year old Matthew Carrington was declared dead by medical personnel at Enloe Medical Center in Chico, California. The declared cause of death was cardiac dysrhythmia due to water intoxication, with environmental hypothermia as a contributing factor. Earlier that night, Carrington, a junior at California State University at Chico, had participated in a long-standing initiation rite used by the brothers of the Chi Tau fraternity: Carrington and other pledges were asked obscure questions about the fraternity's history while drinking water from five-gallon bottles. For each wrong answer, the pledges were made to do push-ups. At some point during the question and answer session, Carrington collapsed and had a seizure. The fraternity's members considered calling for emergency assistance, but upon being reassured by what sounded like Carrington snoring, members of Chi Tau dressed Carrington and placed him in a sleeping bag. An emergency response phone call was later placed at around 5 a.m. Police who arrived at the scene found fans drawing air from the outside that had been directed at the pledges. The temperature outside was around 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

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ISSN: 2152-0542