25 years later, Missouri hazing death consequences remain

9 months 3 weeks 2 days ago Monday, February 18 2019 Feb 18, 2019 Monday, February 18, 2019 9:40:00 AM CST February 18, 2019 in News
By: The Associated Press

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (AP) — Twenty-five years after Michael Davis died from injuries suffered in a brutal fraternity hazing ritual at Southeast Missouri State University, his death still has far-reaching consequences.

Davis was pledging the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity when he died from internal bleeding on Feb. 15, 1994, after collapsing a day earlier. The autopsy found fractured ribs, lung, liver and kidney damage, a bruised and bleeding heart, and spinal hemorrhaging.

More than a dozen men associated with Kappa Alpha Psi, a traditionally black fraternity, were prosecuted, including seven for involuntary manslaughter. Sentences ranged from probation to incarceration. The fraternity was banned from Southeast.

The Southeast Missourian reports the fallout included legislation in Missouri creating a felony for serious hazing, and national scrutiny of fraternity hazing practices.

At a memorial service in February 1994, Edith Davis said her son was a kind soul.

"He couldn't kill a spider," she said. She called the hazing "cold-blooded murder."

In 1996, the Kappa Alpha Psi national organization paid $2.25 million to Davis' parents as part of a lawsuit.

A quarter-century later, Davis' death has faded into the background of campus history. But it remains a personal tragedy for Tamara Zellars Buck, a faculty member in the mass media department, who worked with Davis on the campus newspaper.

She recalled when the staff learned of his death.

"We were sitting here trying to process that our friend was dead," Buck said.

The lives of Kappa Alpha Psi members were damaged, too. One member, who was not involved in the hazing, received death threats and withdrew from SEMO, Buck said.

Southeast, like most universities, now works hard to educate fraternity and sorority members about the dangers of hazing. Few cases rise to criminal level, but SEMO handles student code violations through its own judicial system. Sanctions can range up to expulsions.

Students are required to sign an anti-hazing statement.

Sonia Rucker, dean of students and assistant to the president for equity and diversity, tells students "we are a campus that has experienced the worst consequence of hazing, so we are going to be extremely vigilant."

Over the past six years, students were found to have violated the anti-hazing policy in four cases, according to the university's website. One of those was Phi Beta Sigma, a traditionally African-American fraternity. In 2015, its charter was suspended for three years. Details of the violation were not disclosed.

Xavier Payne, president of the fraternity's Southeast chapter, said that even all these years later, Davis' death should send a message that students should never accept abuse to join an organization. "It is not worth it," he said.

___

Information from: Southeast Missourian, http://www.semissourian.com

Related Stories

More News

Grid
List
MOKANE - Christopher Sanford will now be able to move around more easily, after teachers at South Callaway School District... More >>
5 hours ago Thursday, December 12 2019 Dec 12, 2019 Thursday, December 12, 2019 3:00:00 AM CST December 12, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - A Columbia man that survived a September shooting is now in Boone County jail on felony drug charges.... More >>
8 hours ago Wednesday, December 11 2019 Dec 11, 2019 Wednesday, December 11, 2019 11:33:00 PM CST December 11, 2019 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA - Firefighters, police, bikers, and more came out to help the Food Bank raise funds to help those fighting... More >>
12 hours ago Wednesday, December 11 2019 Dec 11, 2019 Wednesday, December 11, 2019 8:14:00 PM CST December 11, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A new bill pre-filed by State Sen. Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia could give law enforcement a leg up... More >>
13 hours ago Wednesday, December 11 2019 Dec 11, 2019 Wednesday, December 11, 2019 6:49:00 PM CST December 11, 2019 in News
VANDALIA, Mo. - The Aspire Mo program graduated 10 new students at The Women's Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center... More >>
14 hours ago Wednesday, December 11 2019 Dec 11, 2019 Wednesday, December 11, 2019 6:17:00 PM CST December 11, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Thousands of dollars were missing after an audit of Glasgow, Mo., released last year. Kevin... More >>
14 hours ago Wednesday, December 11 2019 Dec 11, 2019 Wednesday, December 11, 2019 6:16:00 PM CST December 11, 2019 in News
FLORISSANT, Mo. — Alex Sims is just like any other kid around Christmas. He's hoping for some cards and maybe... More >>
14 hours ago Wednesday, December 11 2019 Dec 11, 2019 Wednesday, December 11, 2019 5:57:00 PM CST December 11, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The Substance Abuse Advisory Commission decided on Wednesday that it could not endorse the ban of all flavored... More >>
18 hours ago Wednesday, December 11 2019 Dec 11, 2019 Wednesday, December 11, 2019 2:21:00 PM CST December 11, 2019 in News
JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said at a news conference with other officials Wednesday... More >>
18 hours ago Wednesday, December 11 2019 Dec 11, 2019 Wednesday, December 11, 2019 2:11:00 PM CST December 11, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The bronze statue that has sat atop the Capitol for nearly 95 years is causing controversy. ... More >>
18 hours ago Wednesday, December 11 2019 Dec 11, 2019 Wednesday, December 11, 2019 2:01:00 PM CST December 11, 2019 in News
COOPER COUNTY - The banks of the Lamine River look different Wednesday. During previous days of the search for... More >>
19 hours ago Wednesday, December 11 2019 Dec 11, 2019 Wednesday, December 11, 2019 12:53:00 PM CST December 11, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Pulaski County Deputies are looking for Austin Tabor after receiving several calls about stolen vehicles Sunday. At... More >>
19 hours ago Wednesday, December 11 2019 Dec 11, 2019 Wednesday, December 11, 2019 12:38:00 PM CST December 11, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA — Father Tolton Catholic High School announced its search for new leadership Wednesday, more than a month after the... More >>
20 hours ago Wednesday, December 11 2019 Dec 11, 2019 Wednesday, December 11, 2019 12:08:00 PM CST December 11, 2019 in News
MARCELINE - Tucked into a small part of Linn County sits Marceline, Mo. and the Walt Disney Hometown Museum. ... More >>
21 hours ago Wednesday, December 11 2019 Dec 11, 2019 Wednesday, December 11, 2019 11:00:00 AM CST December 11, 2019 in News
LAKE OF THE OZARKS - Divers with the Missouri State Highway Patrol recovered a victim's body at 1:10 p.m. in... More >>
22 hours ago Wednesday, December 11 2019 Dec 11, 2019 Wednesday, December 11, 2019 10:08:00 AM CST December 11, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - On Wednesday, the Boone County League of Women Voters is celebrating 100 years since its founding. The... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, December 11 2019 Dec 11, 2019 Wednesday, December 11, 2019 3:45:00 AM CST December 11, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle will come together for a press conference over Missouri's HIV-specific... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, December 11 2019 Dec 11, 2019 Wednesday, December 11, 2019 3:40:00 AM CST December 11, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The Hughes' family puts together their Christmas jigsaw puzzle in their front yard around Thanksgiving every year. It's... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, December 10 2019 Dec 10, 2019 Tuesday, December 10, 2019 10:39:00 PM CST December 10, 2019 in Continuous News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 39°
9am 41°
10am 44°
11am 46°
12pm 49°