Education: Hell Week

¶ At the University of Texas eight years ago, 19-year-old Nolte McElroy bent down to crawl through a set of bedsprings to which city light wires had been connected. An excited, giggling crowd of Delta Kappa Epsilons were numbed into silence when Pledge McElroy fainted from shock, died 15 minutes later.

¶ At Duke University last year, a fraternity pledge named Einer A. Palmgren, stripped and painted with shellac, was inadvertently ignited and had to be hospitalized for severe burns.

Although most fraternity pledges survive their initiations with a whole skin, suffering only from...

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