Mother of Student Killed During Chico State Hazing Hoping to Raise Awareness

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A Bay Area mother is hoping to raise awareness after her son died from a college fraternity hazing incident. Terry McSweeney reports. (Published Wednesday, Aug 13, 2014)

    A Bay Area mother is hoping to raise awareness after her son died from a college fraternity hazing incident.

    Lifetime's television show "Campus Nightmares" on Wednesday night focused on the death of Matt Carrington, who died in February 2005 during hazing at Chi Tau fraternity at Chico State University.

    "I got really angry because they killed my son," said Debbie Smith, Carrington's mother.

    Carrington on his last night was made to chug gallons of water for hours until he was vomiting, while fans blew on his cold, wet body. He also had to do hundreds of push ups.

    The college student eventually collapsed and went into seizure.

    "I am never past the pain -- sometimes I cry all day," Smith said. "But I know that I've been out of the darkness, so I know that I can be."

    Smith, a Pleasant Hill resident, has helped pass Matt's Law in California, which toughens the law prohibiting hazing. She is now hoping to start a fund in her son's name to set up a national hotline for people to call when they see a hazing in progress.

    "We would have a place to call and you're not going to get in trouble if you do," Smith said. "You could be helping save a life."

    Smith hopes her son's story will get the message out of the dangers with hazing.

    "I don't care where you send your children, or what they say," she said. "Hazing is the best-kept secret. That's why it continues."