Encyclopedia Titanica

Sidney Collett Victim of Hazers

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Sidney S.C. Collett May Be Disfigured for Life.


Survivor of the Titanic Disaster Badly Treated by Students at Granville, O., College.

Sidney C. Stuart Collett, son of Rev. and Mrs. Mawbey E. Collett of Port Byron, who is well known in Auburn as one of the survivors of the Titanic disaster, was the victim of hazers in Denison College, Granville, O., recently, and may have been disfigured for life by the treatment he received. The Syracuse Post-Standard today contains the following story of the occurrence and a statement from Collett’s brother, a student in Syracuse University:

“Six students, alleged to have been led by Kent Pfeifer of St. Paul, Minn. took charge of Collett’s hazing which consisted of branding his forehead with nitrate of silver. Acid used to obliterate the stain of the nitrate apparently has added to the disfigurement.

“Thomas F.A. Collett, a student at Syracuse University and a brother of Stuart, declared last night that steps probably will be taken to bring the hazing to the attention of the British ambassador as young Collett is still a subject of the king. Whatever move is made will probably be through Richard Collett, an uncle, who is a wealthy Englishman and a member of Parliament.

“‘Hazing should be discouraged,’ Mr. Collett said last night. ‘It prevailed in England years ago but it is only a memory there now. Something ought to be done to stop the practice in America. A great many young Englishmen come to the country for their education and they should be protected.

“‘What has been done to my brother cannot be undone. But foreign students in American colleges ought to be immune from such silly practices even if there has been an international affair over it.’

“Only the meagerest [sic] details of the hazing are available because the authorities of Denison College have not investigated the case thoroughly, Pfeifer has been suspended, but neither he nor Collett will tell the names of the other members of the hazing party. Collett says he doesn’t know who the hazers were because they were masked.

“Mr. Collett’s father, pastor of the Baptist Church at Port Byron, was notified of the hazing yesterday and was deeply shocked. He has not heard from his son in more than a week.

“News of the hazing leaked out when Collett went to Prof. H.L. Brumbach of the chemistry department of the university to have the stain removed from his forehead. Professor Brumbach would not consent to remove the stain until after Collett had named his assailant.

“Pfeifer was the only member of the band Collett recognized. He was hailed before the university authorities and is said to have admitted having participated in the hazing. He declared it was done only in fun and expressed deep sorrow over the serious results.

“So far as is known, Collett’s apparent reluctance to ‘mix’ with the other students in the university was the only cause for the hazing. Before coming to America Collett was a licensed preacher of the Baptist Church in England, but never was ordained.

“‘Like any other young Englishman, his habits were not those of his fellow students,’ his brother said yesterday, ‘but that is poor excuse for hazing. He is 25 years old, much older than any of the other students there, and his habit of life naturally made him something of a recluse, I imagine.’
“‘Stuart is not lacking sociability,’ his father said. ‘He made many friends during his short stay in Port Byron. In England he was a boy among boys, joining in their amusements and play.

“‘We have not received a letter from him in more than a week. I expected one today. He had a little trouble when he first went to the college. The boys there treated him outrageously. They were rough with him, but he bore the insults as incident to the initiation. I had believed that as the college year advanced the spirit of lawlessness at the college had subsided.’

“Collett became well known in Central New York after his arrival here from England. He was one of the few men on board the Titanic who were saved and upon his arrival in Syracuse he was eagerly sought after for lectures on the disaster and the story of his escape.

“He spoke in St. Paul’s and other churches in this city and later addressed an audience of more than 1,000 persons at the Jefferson Theatre in Auburn, where he was invited to speak by Thomas M. Osborne of the Social Ethics Class.

“It was Collett’s intention to enter Rochester Theological Seminary at the completion of his course at Denison, where he went upon the advice of relatives in England. He studied in Glasgow two years before coming to America.”

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Encyclopedia Titanica (2013) Sidney Collett Victim of Hazers ( ref: #19401, published 23 March 2013, generated 6th December 2022 08:21:18 PM); URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanic-survivor-sidney-collett-victim-of-hazers.html