Education: Death of a Fraternity Pledge

Tall, thin Thomas Fitzgerald, 19, a junior at Queens College, stood in the crisp night air on Indian Island, a 50-acre patch of scrub just 50 feet off Long Island's South Shore. From his neck, in front of his chest, hung a strip of 2-by-4 wood, 20 inches long. On it was scrawled "P.O.W." Fitzgerald, a member of the St. John's University Reserve Officers Training Corps program (Queens College has no ROTC unit) was trying to get into the corps' Pershing Rifles fraternity. According to police, he and nine other pledges were taken to the island as part of the fraternity's...

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