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Fraternity Disowns Baruch College Chapter After Student’s Death

Chun Hsien 'Michael' Deng Allegedly Died After Hazing Ritual
Baruch College student Chun Hsien “Michael” Deng died of brain trauma while on a trip with his fraternity brothers. (credit: CBS 2)

Baruch College student Chun Hsien “Michael” Deng died of brain trauma while on a trip with his fraternity brothers. (credit: CBS 2)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Pi Delta Psi fraternity has disowned its Baruch College chapter, following the death of a student who died after taking part of a hazing ritual.

Chun Hsien “Michael” Deng, 19, a freshman at the college in the Flatiron District and a pledge at the fraternity, died on Monday of last week while at a weekend retreat at a rented house in the Poconos with about three dozen fraternity members.

The Luzerne County, Pa., Coroner said a preliminary autopsy report showed Chun Hsien “Michael” Deng died of “closed head injuries due to blunt force trauma.”

As a result, the fraternity on Monday decided to revoke and terminate all affiliation with its Baruch chapter, effective immediately.

“Baruch Colony has violated the values and rules of our organization, including our strict no hazing policy,” Pi Delta Psi said. “As such, they shall no longer be recognized as having any association with Pi Delta Psi. Additionally, we will also revoke the individual memberships of any member found involved in this incident.”

According to a police affidavit, Deng, one of four pledges, suffered major brain trauma a week ago Sunday during an initiation ritual called the “glass ceiling.”

Police said Deng was blindfolded and wearing a backpack loaded with 20 pounds of sand when he was forced to run a gauntlet while fraternity brothers physically tried to keep him from passing through by repeatedly shoving him to the ground.

Deng was left “unconscious and unresponsive immediately after he fell” with “scratches and bruising on his knees,” according to the affidavit. Investigators said Deng also had swelling to the back of his head.

Instead of calling 911, police said the frat brothers carried Deng inside and placed him by the fire, searched the Internet for his symptoms and changed his clothes, CBS 2′s Kathryn Brown reported.

Then after waiting at least an hour and a half, three of the brothers drove him to a hospital 30 miles away, authorities said. There, Deng’s mother arrived to find her son brain-dead and on life support. He died hours later.

Police said one of the brothers made a phone call from the hospital directing others back at the house to get rid of all fraternity items and another admitted to being the “pledge educator” in charge of Deng during the ritual, Brown reported.

Baruch College administrators said the school had no knowledge of the weekend retreat or even that Pi Delta Psi was rushing a pledge class.

Authorities have been interviewing about 30 people and are expected to file dozens of criminal charges, saying they’ll prosecute anyone who was involved in what they describe as a hazing ritual.

Nationally, Pi Delta Psi has had hazing problems in recent years, CBS 2 has learned. Last year, the University of Florida chapter was suspended because of hazing. In spring of 2009 the Cornell University chapter was also put on provisional status after video tape surfaced of a pledge being hazed.

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