Latest Update (3/6): The Boston Herald has comments from the Leland Manders, Executive Director of Sigma Alpha Mu that acknowledge that Barksdale was a pledge. He also states that “We have a strict anti-hazing policy. There’s no indication hazing was involved here.” It seems a bit early to make such a definitive statement (MY OPINION).
Update (3/6): Based on recent reports (boston.com, CBS Boston), it is unclear if Anthony Barksdale had recently pledged Sigma Alpha Mu, or if he was a recruit prior to accepting a bid. I will try to sort that out as I find more information.
We may have the first addition to the list of hazing/pledge deaths for 2013. The Boston Globe, and the Boston Herald, have stories on the death of Anthony Barksdale following a “meet and greet” on Friday night. The Globe report says that Barksdale was a new pledge, and the party was a celebration of the new pledge class. The chapter has been suspended by BU and Sigma Alpha Mu, pending the investigation.
The initial reports are similar to recent hazing/pledging deaths involving Will Torrance at Vincennes, and Philip Dahnens at Fresno State. Bid night celebrations are one of the most dangerous nights in the fraternal world.
Boston University has had a number of fraternity/sorority issues in the past year. The Sigma Chi chapter was investigated for hazing in October, Sigma Delta Tau was investigated in the Spring, and Alpha Epsilon Pi (an unrecognized group) faced criminal charges last spring.
In a similar situation late last week, a Sigma Phi Epsilon pledge at the University of Arkansas was hospitalized for alcohol poisoning at a bid day party. The difference is that a member of the chapter took him to the hospital that night. While the chapter is suspending pending the investigation, it is likely that their quick actions not only saved a life, but likely may have saved the chapter (albeit with significant sanctions).