He was hazed 25 years ago and has lived with the consequences since

Duronne Walker went blind from injuries suffered during a hazing incident at Southern University in the 90s.

Despite efforts to ban, outlaw and otherwise discourage hazing, it remains an unfortunate part of campus life for college students across the country.

The apparent hazing-related death of an LSU student is another unfortunate reminder of what can happen when things go too far.

It brings back painful memories for Duronne Walker. He had a bright future when he stepped on the Southern University campus in Baton Rouge as a freshman in 1992.

His decision to pledge a fraternity had profound consequences.

"I was blindfolded, I was hit over the head with a frying pan and there was something slipped into my drink causing me to go blind and paralyzed," Walker said.

Walker is no longer paralyzed, but never regained his sight.

"I know that they have wonderful fraternities and sororities all across the country, but I think that some of their tactics that are being used to join these organizations, needs to stop, today," Walker said. 

Dr. Walter Kimbrough, President of Dillard University in New Orleans, is a nationally recognized expert on fraternities and sororities.

He wrote the book "Black Greek 101" and testified in more than 20 trials involving hazing incidents.

"Every fall, I hate it as an administrator who is active in the fraternity, sorority community because I know every year someone is going to die this time of year," Kimbrough said.

Dr. Kimbrough maintains we need to talk about hazing long before young people get to college. 

"There's a study that comes out of the University of Maine, where they indicated that almost half of high school students experience hazing before they graduate from high school," Kimbrough said. "It fits in with some of the bullying conversations we're having with middle schoolers and high schoolers. We need to add hazing as part of that conversation because they got to start understanding that now."

Next week is National Hazing Prevention week. In light of what happened at LSU, it will be yet another opportunity for college officials and the Greek community to review and reinforce anti hazing policies on campus.

"As someone who has done expert witness work, who started my career as a Greek advisor at Emory University, I've dealt with this up close and personal for 25 years," Kimbrough said. "This is the most complicated problem on college campuses.  Every time something happens, you're scratching your head to say what could we have done."

"I am totally amazed that this is happening now, today, after 25 years ago, almost losing my life, to have a young man whose in college, bright future, to lose his life," Walker said. "It's as simple as being heartless."

Walker now holds a high level position with the U.S. Department of Transportation in Washington, DC.

© 2017 WWL-TV


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