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Similar Hazing Deaths Show Difficulty In Halting Behavior

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Experts say  disturbingly similar cases of young men chugging lethal amounts of alcohol while pledging an underground fraternity demonstrate the difficulty in stopping behavior done in secret and beyond the realm of campus control. 

Three days before 19-year-old UAlbany student Trevor Duffy died in November, 18-year-old Nolan Burch died inside a West Virginia University frat house. Police say both were being initiated into rogue fraternities that had no official standing.

Dr. Norm Pollard, a board member at HazingPrevention.org, says much of a university's ability to regulate groups comes from the give-and-take of their following rules in exchange for permission to operate.

Law enforcement officials say any hazing investigation provides particular challenges, including reluctant witnesses, alcohol-clouded memories and the fact that behavior, at least initially, is voluntary.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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