MORGANTOWN (KDKA/AP) — West Virginia University has suspended all social and pledging activities, effective immediately, at its campus-affiliated fraternities and sororities following two recent incidents.
WVU Dean of Students Corey Farris says halting fraternity and sorority activities was done with the students’ well-being and safety in mind.
According to WVU officials, a “catastrophic medical emergency” occurred, sending paramedics and other first responders to a fraternity house this week.
The Morgantown Police Department has now identified the student involved as 18-year-old Nolan Burch, of Buffalo, New York.
According to police, officers were called to the Kappa Sigma Fraternity in the 200-block of Belmar Avenue just before midnight on Wednesday for a medical emergency.
While it’s not officially confirmed, sources on campus say Burch was pledging with Kappa Sigma and may have been drinking heavily.
“A lot of people drink and party at college. It’s a shame one bad incident has to end this way. It’s tough,” said John Morris, a WVU senior.
Investigators say officers found Burch on the floor of the home with no pulse and another person performing CPR.
Police and paramedics then took over, and eventually, Burch was rushed to Ruby Memorial Hospital.
Burch’s family has been notified and they are now at his side.
The university said Burch is gravely ill. A hospital spokesperson says he is in critical condition.
Meanwhile, police say they are interviewing pledges and members of the fraternity who may have been with Burch before he became ill.
In a joint statement, Dean of Students Corey Farris, Inter-Fraternity Council President Ansh Kumar and Panhellenic Council President Rachel Poe, said: “First, our hearts, prayers and support go out to the student who is gravely ill and his family. Right now that is our utmost concern.”
Before today’s incident, on Nov. 6, 19 members of another fraternity, Sigma Chi, were arrested on alcohol-related charges and the fraternity was suspended.
There was also rioting after the Mountaineers’ win over Baylor last month.
“I think they’re trying to make an example out of us since the riot. We probably don’t deserve to be suspended,” said Cole Sadler, a fraternity member. “Sigma Chi had something to do with it ,too. I think we’ll bounce back from it.”
The university is offering counseling for Burch’s friends and family.
Morgantown Police and WVU Police continue to investigate both incidents.
Anyone with information regarding the incident at the Kappa Sigma Fraternity house is asked to contact Morgantown Police’s Detective Unit at 304-284-7522.
The university’s Office of Student Conduct is also reviewing the case.
To see the University’s full statement, click here.
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