Treat Frat Hazing As the Crime It Is

Hazing that involves physical abuse of people being initiated into clubs, fraternities and other groups remains far too common, especially on college campuses. It needs to be seen for what it is: criminal assault.

Law enforcement officials in Monongalia County feel that way. This week, two men involved in hazing at a West Virginia University fraternity were sentenced to jail.

Three men – one from Morgantown, another from California and the third from New Jersey – had been charged in connection with a hazing situation at a WVU fraternity last November. A 19-year-old man was injured.

One of the three men arrested pleaded no contest in May and was sentenced to 48 hours in jail, along with being fined $1,000.

This week a second defendant pleaded no contest and received a similar sentence.

But the third man, Andrew Nemes of Huntington Beach, Calif., was punished more harshly. He was fined $1,000 and sent to jail for 10 days. In addition to hazing, he had been charged with battery.

Stiff sentences in hazing cases are appropriate. And, if colleges and universities believe certain organizations sanction hazing, action against them should be taken, too. Again, hazing often amounts to assault, and should be handled as such.