Notable Fraternity Deaths in 2014

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
Altoona, PA
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
Northridge, CA
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
Lubbock, TX
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
Clemson University
Clemson, SC
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
Lincoln, NE

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)
Berkeley, CA
Zeta Psi

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
Morgantown, WV
Kappa Sigma

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
Albany, NY
Underground ZBT

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.

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Should Nebraska/Farmhouse Death be considered a Hazing Death?

Four members of the Nebraska-Lincoln chapter of Farmhouse Fraternity have been arrested for Procuring Alcohol to Minor Resulting in Injury/Death (felony), and three other students charged with misdemeanor counts following an investigation into the death of Clayton Real on September 5th ( Real was an 18-year-old freshmen, in his second week of school at UNL, and living in the Farmhouse Fraternity house. “An autopsy concluded that Real’s cause of death was acute alcohol intoxication. His alcohol level was .378.”

Thus far, the word “hazing” has not been mentioned in the cause of death, or in any way associated with the story. The article indicates that the facts of the case “do not appear to meet the elements under the state statute of hazing.”

As I read the stories, these appear to be the facts:

  • Real had joined the fraternity during summer recruitment, and then moved into the chapter house (along with 27 other freshmen) at the start of the school year. (Nebraksa appears to have a very active summer recruitment program designed to allow chapters to fill beds with incoming freshmen – provided the house is approved by the University. Farmhouse met this standard.)
  • The Farmhouse website indicates that chapters have a New Member Education program that can last up to 12 weeks.
  • On September 4th, Real attended a “Frosh Party” at an off-campus house. It was hosted by his fraternity.
  • Among those charged with felonies related to his death are the New Member Educator and the Freshman Social Chair ( I have never seen that title used in a fraternity).
  • After passing out at the party, Real was taken back to the fraternity house and placed in his room. He died later that night, and his autopsy revealed a .378 BAC.
  • Farmhouse is a member of FIPG, and their definition of hazing includes the use of alcohol in any new member event.
  • Several reports indicate that Real was a member of the fraternity, and not a pledge. If so, I am wondering when he completed his new member education and was initiated. Even if he was initiated, I don’t think that matters. He was in his second week on campus, and likely experiencing an informal initiation into the chapter.

Based on those published facts, I would say that the death of Clayton Real should be listed as a hazing death. This is no a legal designation, but an important distinction within the fraternity/sorority world. I will add this incident to the list I maintain.

As to the legal distinction of hazing, it is actually encouraging that the local police and prosecutors are focusing on the Procurement of Alcohol leading to Death charges. If they attempted to emphasize the state hazing statute, it is likely that the case would fall apart in trying to meet that standard.

On the other hand, the University of Nebraska and Farmhouse Fraternity should be willing to call it hazing as an accurate representative of how the facts are in relation to their policies. Calling it an alcohol overdose and risk management violation doesn’t seem to accurately reflect the case, in my opinion.

Within the fraternity/sorority world, Farmhouse has an excellent reputation for accountability and responsibility with their chapters. They have highly regarded leadership, resources, and educational programming. This was one of their original three chapters, and the case shows how a situation can fall apart, even with the best oversight and intentions.

The chapter has been closed indefinitely by the National Fraternity, in conjunction with the University.

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Suicide Linked to Alleged Hazing at Penn State-Altoona/Phi Sigma Kappa

The Altoona Mirror has a detailed piece on the death of Marquise Braham, a freshman at Penn State-Altoona, that they connect to his hazing as a new member, and his involvement in hazing as a newly elected officer of the chapter. He died while home on Spring Break last Friday.

If that is the case, this is the first hazing-connected death of 2014. The chapter has been suspended pending the investigation.

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50 Hazing/Pledging Deaths Since 2000

This week’s death of Chun Hsien ‘Michael” Deng, a 19-year-old Baruch College student, from physical trauma while pledging Pi Delta Psi fraternity, has prompted me to share some information from a project I am working on looking closer at hazing deaths since 2000. Using information from Hank Nuwer’s list of hazing deaths, this is the 50th entry for a college student’s death from hazing/pledging since we moved into the 2000s.

Of those 50 deaths:

  • Four have been from Asian/Asian-Interest Fraternities.
  • Six have come from National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) chapters.
  • Nine are from unrecognized/suspended/local/sub-rosa groups.
  • Two are non-fraternity/sorority related.
  • 29 come from 17 different NIC member fraternities.
  • Five women have died, 45 men.
  • Four incidents have resulted in two deaths, one incident had four deaths.
  • Lambda Phi Epsilon, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, and Theta Chi have each had three deaths at three different campuses.
  • California State-Chico has had three deaths from three different incidents.
  • November (11) and February (9) are the deadliest times of the year.

Here are some details. You can check for additional information on Hank Nuwer’s list.

Non-Fraternity/Sorority (2)

Minnesota-Duluth Rugby

Florida A&M Band

Asian Fraternities (NAPA) (4)

Lambda Phi Epsilon

  • San Francisco State
  • UC-Irvine
  • Texas

Pi Delta Psi

  • Baruch College

NIC Member Fraternities (29)

Alpha Tau Omega

  • University of Georgia

Chi Psi

  • Colorado

Delta Kappa Epsilon

  • Yale (4)

Delta Tau Delta

  • Wabash College
  • Northern Colorado

Kappa Sigma

  • University of Miami

Phi Kappa Tau

  • Bradley University
  • Rider University

Phi Sigma Kappa

  • Maryland

Pi Kappa Alpha

  • Nevada – Reno
  • Northern Illinois

Pi Kappa Phi

  • California State – Chico

Sigma Alpha Epsilon

  • Texas
  • Cal Poly
  • Cornell

Sigma Alpha Mu

  • Delaware

Sigma Chi

  • Oklahoma

Sigma Nu

  • Utah State

Sigma Pi

  • California State – Chico

Tau Kappa Epsilon

  • San Diego State (2)
  • Radford University

Theta Chi

  • Indiana University
  • Lenoir-Rhyne College
  • Fresno State

Zeta Beta Tau

  • Alfred University

NPHC Fraternities/Sororities (6)

Alpha Kappa Alpha

  • California State – Los Angeles (2)

Delta Sigma Theta

  • East Carolina University (2)

Omega Psi Phi

  • Tennessee State

Phi Beta Sigma

  • Prairie View A&M

Unrecognized/Local/Sub Rosa/etc. (9)

Chi Tau

  • California State – Chico

Delta Gamma Iota

  • Vincennes University

Kappa Delta Rho

  • Lafayette College

Kappa Phi Theta

  • Rochester Institute of Technology

Men of Honor

  • Virginia State (2)

PIGS Drinking Club

  • SUNY – Geneseo

Psi Epsilon Chi

  • SUNY – Plattsburgh

Sigma Kappa Omega Sorority

  • Plymouth State (NH)

Summary by Year

  • 2000 – 2
  • 2001 – 4
  • 2002 – 7
  • 2003 – 8
  • 2004 – 2
  • 2005 – 3
  • 2006 – 1
  • 2007 – 1
  • 2008 – 5
  • 2009 – 2
  • 2010 – 3
  • 2011 – 3
  • 2012 – 5
  • 2013 – 4

Summary by Month

  • January – 5
  • February – 9
  • March – 3
  • April – 5
  • May – 1
  • August – 2
  • September – 5
  • October – 6
  • November – 11
  • December – 3
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Quick Links: Rolling Stone Article, Alabama, PKA at FIU, UNC, SF State, Fresno State, Alpha Delta at Dartmouth, TKE at Whitman

Rolling Stone article on “The Most Out-of-Control Fraternities in America.”“Sorority Girls Offered Free Drinks To Vote in Local Alabama Election”Chi Omega at the University of Alabama

Pi Kappa Alpha at Florida International University:

The Daily Tar Heel“3 IFC fraternities take social suspension”University of North Carolina

Golden Gate Express“Frat hazing death spurs alcohol responsibility program”Lambda Phi Epsilon at San Francisco State (Death of Peter Tran)

Fresno BeeFresno State delays fraternity-sorority ‘rush’ to curb alcohol abuse” – (Reaction to Philip Dhanens death in 2012 , Theta Chi)

The Daily CallerDartmouth cracks down on frat that hosted ghetto party”Alpha Delta Fraternity

Whitman Pioneer“Allegations of hazing leveled against TKE initiation practices”Tau Kappa Epsilon at Whitman College

USA Today“Hazing is never OK: Column”Cornell University

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Who Are Those Guys? The Class of 2017

The Beloit College Mindset List is out, this is my attempt to look for shared cultural experiences of the incoming class of college students. Feel free to share your insights so I can improve on the list and make adjustments. You might also be interested in the Language Mindset List from the Lingua Franca Blog at the Chronicle of Higher Education. There is also a group of academics who are actively opposed to the Mindset List, you can read about them at Inside HigherEd.


Welcome to the Class of 2017

This list is designed to complement the Beloit College Mindset List. Each year the Mindset List does a great job of helping us understand how quickly certain cultural touch points become dated. In many ways, it helps us understand who the entering college class is not. My hope is to better understand the cultural references and shared experiences that these students bring with them to campus.

Celebrity Classmates

With most of today’s entering college freshmen born in the second half of 1994, or the first half of 1995, here are some well-known names who (theoretically) could be joining them.

The Disney Channel

The Disney Channel played a major role in the developing years of these students. Beginning in 1997, The Disney Channel began its transition from Premium Cable to Basic Cable. This dramatically increased the availability of the channel and its programs. It also built strong personal connections between its young stars and its viewers.

Disney Channel’s High School Musical debuted in January of 2006, when the Class of 2017 was in the sixth grade. It was the highest rated show to ever appear on Disney Channel at the time, and widely influential with sing-a-long, dance-a-long, repeated showings, and a concert tour.


It is quite possible that the first movie that the Class of 2017 saw in a theater was Toy Story 2 (1999) or Monsters, Inc. (2001) (or possibly Rugrats in Paris.) With the release of Monsters U. this summer, the Class of 2017 closes the cycle from scared kids at 5 or 6, to a college movie today, with the same characters. (The same things happened with Toy Story 3.) Pixar Studios debuted with Toy Story in 1995, and the Class of 2017 has had a steady stream of highly acclaimed Pixar releases throughout their life.

Harry Potter & Twilight

The Harry Potter books and movies are likely seen as slightly older friends. The Class of 2017 was too young for the first several movies, and probably caught up on DVD and saw the later movies in theaters in their ten years. With this timing, this class is much less likely to have read the books before seeing the movies (if they ever read the books at all).

On the other hand the Twilight books became popular as these students were in middle school. They would have read the books, and then seen the movies in high school.

Popular Music & Television

The definition of popular music for the Class of 2017 is really hard to pinpoint. Disney acts, Hip Hop, Electronic Dance Music, Country, and more are part of the definition. Services like Pandora, Spotify, and internet radio allow them to narrow their focus. This results in fewer acts reaching the levels of awareness and stardom as in the past. One Direction and the Glee cast have probably been the most successful acts over their teen years.

Glee debuted in the Spring of 2009, just prior to the Class of 2017 starting high school. In addition to its influence on popular music, its depiction of high school included a wide variety of social issues that these students could connect with. It has been very influential among a significant portion of the Class of 2017.

Otherwise, the proliferation of cable networks and online options has meant that there are very few (if any) TV shows that are universally viewed. The highest rated shows are generally reality or sports.

Reality Television

While reality television (both competitive and voyeuristic) is commonplace these days, these students have been heavily influenced over their lifetime. While there is too much to cover everything, here are a couple of key notes:

  • 16 and Pregnant (MTV) – Debuted in the summer of 2009, as the Class of 2017 was getting ready to start their Freshman year.
  • Here Comes Honey Boo Boo (TLC), Duck Dynasty (A&E), Hoarders (A&E), HGTV, cooking shows, Jersey Shore (MTV), too many MTV & VH1 shows to name, etc.
  • Keeping Up With the Kardashians (E!) – Debuted in the Fall of 2007.


Beginning with NickToons, several animated TV shows have influenced the sense of humor for the Class of 2017. Beginning with the subtle subversion of Rugrats, these students have been exposed to multi-layered comedy. It is perhaps best represented in South Park, which has been a part of their lives for as long as most can remember. These students know all about Tommy, Chuckie and Angelica, as well as Kyle, Stan, Kenny and Cartman.

  • Rugrats (1991 to 2004) – From 1995 to 2000, it was the highest-rated show on Nickelodeon and the highest rated kids’ show,
  • Ren and Stimpy (1991 to 1998)
  • SpongeBob SquarePants (1999 to present)
  • South Park (1997 to present)

iPods, Cell Phones and Smart Phones

The iPod was introduced by Apple in late 2001, and the iTunes on-line music store came in early 2003. For many students, their entire music collection is digital and portable. They also have carried cell phones with them for most of their lives. In many cases this is out of parental concern following the Columbine massacre in 1999. It is not unusual to have students carrying two (or more) portable electronic devices with them at all times. Throughout their high school years these two devices have merged into one with the release of the iPhone, iPad and Android smart phones. It is noteworthy that actually talking to people via the phone is often the fourth or fifth most important feature on these devices (taking pictures, checking the time, e-mail, texting, Facebook, Twitter, games, music, etc.)


While it is still the most widely used social media outlet, interest is waning among teenagers. Teens report that it is too demanding to manage their accounts, privacy settings, and deal with “Facebook drama.” However, nothing has emerged to take the place of Facebook, so they feel a need to stay on Facebook, even as their usage is changing.  Twitter and Instagram are growing is usage. African-American teens use Twitter at a higher rate.

Three Presidents

The Class of 2017 was born during Bill Clinton’s first term as President. Essentially they have only known Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama as U.S President. By the way, most of the class was three or four during the height of the Clinton/Lewinsky Scandal in 1998.

Columbine and Virginia Tech

The massacre at Columbine (CO) High School happened in April of 1999, when these students were in pre-school, and the Virginia Tech shootings were at the end of their seventh grade year. Their high school years are now noted for the theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, and the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Hurricane Katrina

Hit the Gulf Coast and New Orleans in August of 2005. Had a significant impact on their sense of social responsibility. The Class of 2017 was starting fifth grade at the time.


It was the start of their first grade year when the 9/11 terrorist incident happened.


The Top Ten Names for U.S. born babies in 1994 & 1995: (from the Social Security Administration)


  1.  Michael            Jessica
  2.  Christopher       Ashley
  3.  Matthew           Emily
  4.  Joshua              Samantha
  5.  Tyler                 Sarah
  6.  Brandon           Taylor
  7.  Jacob                Brittany
  8.  Daniel              Amanda
  9.  Nicholas           Elizabeth
  10. Andrew            Megan


  1. Michael            Jessica
  2. Matthew           Ashley
  3. Christopher       Emily
  4. Jacob                Samantha
  5. Joshua              Sarah
  6. Nicholas           Taylor
  7. Tyler                 Hannah
  8. Brandon           Brittany
  9. Daniel              Amanda
  10. Austin              Elizabeth


  1. Jacob                Sophia
  2. Mason             Emma
  3. Ethan                Isabella
  4. Noah                Olivia
  5. William            Ava
  6. Liam                 Emily
  7. Jayden             Abigail
  8. Michael            Mia
  9. Alexander         Madison
  10. Aiden               Elizabeth
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NIU/PKA Update: New Info in Bogenberger Civil Case

The Dekalb Daily Chronicle has a story with information from the updated lawsuit filing connected to the death of David Bogenberger during a “Mom’s and Dad’s” night event at the Pi Kappa Alpha chapter house at Northern Illinois University.

The article also provides a link to read or download the full text of the filing. In addition to the National fraternity and the local chapter, the lawsuit names 44 individuals, including 16 women participating as “Mom’s.”

The listing of “Statement of Facts” in the lawsuit provides a detailed timeline of the events leading to Bogenberger’s death as alleged by the plaintiffs. It is a very disturbing listing of events indicating that the primary purpose of the event was to intoxicate the pledges to the point of passing out and vomiting. While Bogenberger died with a .351 BAC, it also appears that all of the pledges were put in a very dangerous situation. From the article:

“Each pledge consumed three to five four-ounce glasses of vodka in each of seven rooms of the house within about 90 minutes, the lawsuit alleges. The organizers then took the pledges, who by that time weren’t able to walk on their own, to the basement, where they received T-shirts and paddles, as well as buckets decorated by the “Greek moms,” to be used to get sick in. Many pledges were sick that night, the complaint states.

As they lost consciousness, the pledges were placed on makeshift beds in the kitchen and hallway floors, or in their “Greek dads’ ” rooms, the lawsuit alleges. About 11 p.m. Nov. 1, a fraternity officer sent a mass text message to fraternity members ordering them to delete photographs and videos of pledges who were unconscious.”

The next scheduled court date is September 18th.

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