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USC Fraternity Pledge Chokes to Death During Hazing

September 17, 2009 | 12:00 pm

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

Sept. 17, 1959, Hazing

"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.