USC Fraternity Pledge Chokes to Death During Hazing

Sept. 17, 1959: The X-15 makes its first powered flight.

“The other boys began slapping him on the back and one stuck his finger down Swanson’s throat to try to dislodge the meat,” Police Lt. William R. Porter says of Kappa Sigma pledge Richard Swanson, who choked to death during a hazing ceremony.

“When that didn’t work, they held him upside down by his heels and tried to shake it out of him. Then, being kids, they just went to pieces. Some of them went out to their cars and prayed. Others became downright hysterical.”

Ambulance attendants said Kappa Sigma members wouldn’t let them get close to Swanson. “Those guys gave me nothing but a bad time. One kid kept telling me not to touch the boy or I’d be held responsible if anything happened to him,” ambulance attendant Nathan Rubin says.

“According to students and police, Kappa Sigma is considered the wildest on campus,” the Mirror says.

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in Education. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to USC Fraternity Pledge Chokes to Death During Hazing

  1. Dave says:

    Great read. Look how different emergency providers act then and now. The students reactions, to police and ambulance attendants !!!


  2. Sam Flowers says:

    Robert Gans figured prominently with Guy McAfee and others in the more colorful era of 1930’s L.A.


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