A lawsuit was filed recently by the parents of a 19-year-old university student who died last year. The student was repeatedly tackled by members of a fraternity who were hazing him at an off-campus farm, according to allegations in the lawsuit. Harrison Kowiak of Tampa, Florida, died after a head injury caused a severe brain hemorrhage. The Complaint seeks damages and blames Theta Chi Fraternity, the fraternity’s members and Lenoir-Rhyne University. Raleigh-based lawyer David Kirby, who represents the parents, said:
We believe Harrison’s death was part of a long history of hazing at this fraternity. There is absolutely no reason for this dangerous activity to still be occurring in this day and age, and it needs to be stopped immediately.
The parents allege in the lawsuit that Kowiak and another pledge were told to walk across a field one night in November, 2008 while wearing light clothing. They said members of the fraternity wearing dark clothing repeatedly tackled the pledges during the initiation, leading to the injury.
Kowiak was a 160-pound sophomore and a member of the golf team, and according to the parents, some members of the fraternity were Lenoir-Rhyne football players who weighed more than 250 pounds. It was alleged that the student was being tackled by men who were much larger than he and who were “trained in tackling.” Fraternity members eventually realized that Kowiak was badly injured, according to the Complaint, but they attempted to get Kowiak to stand up and walk until he collapsed. The fraternity brothers then drove him to a Hickory hospital. But they told hospital staff that Kowiak had been injured in an on-campus flag-football accident, according to allegations in the lawsuit. Kowiak was airlifted to Carolina’s Medical Center in Charlotte and died there the following day.
Source: Miami Herald