Below are eight notable deaths involving fraternities in 2014. Most of them involve new members, or pledges, and the death may be connected to their pledging process. This list will not include other accidents, natural causes, or deaths unrelated to the fraternity membership. Seven of these deaths have been included in the data on my list of hazing/pledging deaths since 2000. Whether hazing/pledging was involved in the deaths of Dalton Debrick and Tucker Hipps is still uncertain with some people. I have included them due to the nature of the description of the events.
1) March 14, 2014
Penn State – Altoona
Phi Sigma Kappa
Marquise Braham, an 18-year-old Penn State – Altoona freshman, died after jumping off a hotel roof while home on Spring Break. It was ruled a suicide, and the family claims that it was connected to hazing activities while he was a new member, and his involvement in hazing as a newly-elected officer.
2) July 1, 2014
California State – Northridge
Pi Kappa Phi
Armando Villa, 19, died of heat exhaustion when he, and other pledges, were taken on an 18 mile hike in the Angeles National Forest. He was given a small amount of water, poor fitting clothes, and his cell phone was taken from him as he started the walk. A CSUN investigation determined that his death was caused by hazing, and the chapter has been closed.
3) August 24, 2014
Texas Tech University
Alpha Sigma Phi
Dalton Debrick, 18 and an incoming freshman, died of alcohol poisoning following a party while pledging the Alpha Sigma Phi colony. He died before classes had begun. The national organization ended the colonization efforts after investigating.
4) September 2
Sigma Phi Epsilon
Update – The family of Tucker Hipps has filed a civil lawsuit in South Carolina. The State newspaper has details.
Tucker Hipps, was on an early morning run with other new members and actives when he went missing. His body was found near a bridge near campus, and he died from blunt force trauma. It is believed that he fell from the bridge. Rumors on campus called it hazing, but the local authorities did not agree that it was hazing.
5) September 5, 2014
Clayton Real, 18, died of alcohol poisoning following an off-campus party coordinated by the chapter’s pledge educator. Four individuals have been charged criminally in connection with his death.
6) November 9, 2014
UC Berkeley (student from UC Davis)
Vaibhev Loomba, 20, died of alcohol poisoning after attending a party at the UC-Berkeley Zeta Psi chapter house. The chapter had not been recognized by the University since 2010, yet still retained support and recognition from the national organization. Not hazing or pledging related.
7) November 14, 2014
West Virginia University
Nolan Burch died from alcohol poisoning following a big brother/little brother activity. The Kappa Sigma chapter had been shut down two days earlier by the national organization, and placed on probation in October.
8) November 17, 2014
Update – The Times Union newspaper has a report on details surrounding this death from court papers filed by two students who had been expelled by the University, and are seeking to be re-admitted. The details are scary.
Trevor Duffy, 19, died of alcohol poisoning following an event at an underground fraternity. The student newspaper described as a big brother/little brother night. Four others at the party were transported to the hospital for alcohol poisoning.