Seven University of Albany students have been arrested for their alleged involvement in the hazing death of one of their pledges last November. The pledge, 19-year-old Trevor Duffy of the Bronx was "required, ordered, and encouraged" to drink a handle of Belvedere Vodka in one go according to an arrest warrant filed last November.
Following a police investigation into Duffy's death, all seven suspects have been charged with one count of hazing each.
Zeta Beta Tau is an unsanctioned fraternity on the UA campus, meaning it operates without official recognition by the University or ZBT's national headquarters. According to the Times Union, ZBT lost its official recognition in 1997, but continued to operate underground on campus.
The Albany paper reports that Duffy took part in the annual hazing ritual on November 15th 2014, at 461 Hamilton Street in Pine Hills. He was discovered unconscious and unresponsive in a bathroom early the next morning, with a blood alcohol level seven times the legal limit. He died on November 17th at Albany Medical Center.
A female friend of Duffy's allegedly came across him slumped in the shower shortly after 1:00 a.m. on the 16th. Keith Rosengarten, Duffy's fraternity "big brother," was allegedly standing over him. Rosengarten allegedly argued with several other members of the frat about whether or not to call 911.
According to court documents, ZBT brothers had assured Duffy earlier that evening that no one ever died during pledge activities. The Times Union details other rituals that allegedly took place throughout pledge week: "Fight Night" when pledges fight each other; "Milk Night" when they drink "excessive" amounts of milk and often vomit; "Onion Night" during which 20 pledges eat 11 onions between them.
The University conducted its own investigation following Duffy's death, and ultimately charged 19 ZBT members with student group violations, hazing, and abusive behavior. A spokesman for the university told the Times Union that not all of the students were expelled, but did not provide specific numbers.
Duffy's family filed a notice of intent to sue the University and the city of Albany last December, asking for $55 million in damages. ZBT has since denied any affiliation with the unsanctioned fraternity, telling News 10 that any use of the ZBT name by this fraternity was done without permission.