Independent Lens: Hazing

(Rochester, NY) — Building on years of countless hazing-related tragedies and grappling with his own experiences, filmmaker Byron Hurt explores the function, politics, and consequences of pledging rituals at universities and colleges across the U.S. Through a series of intimate interviews with victims' families, survivors, and his fellow fraternity brothers, Hurt and his subjects reflect on the realities of hazing, and question the purpose of these ongoing rite-of-passage rituals in sororities, fraternities, and other groups. Independent Lens: Hazing airs Monday, September 12, 2022 at 10 p.m. on WXXI-TV.

Through a look at the history of hazing and deeply personal narratives of those affected by the rituals, the film tackles topics of violence, sexual degradation, binge drinking, institutional coverups, and debased notions of manhood. Interviews with violence-prevention experts and campus professional staff provide broader cultural context for these practices and their association with Greek-letter organizations. Hurt also discusses victim-blaming narratives, offering insight into the psychology of belonging, insecurity, and cycles of abuse which largely contribute to hazing culture. “Hazing” takes a look inward as well, as Hurt and many of the film’s subjects find themselves conflicted with the joys of Greek culture while also admitting to the perils and damaging effects of pledging practices. 

Photo: Courtesy of PBS



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