The Baruch freshman who died on Monday during a fraternity getaway in the Poconos sustained severe brain trauma while participating in a pledge ritual known as the "Glass Ceiling" game, police sources tell the Times. In the game, blindfolded participants carry weighted bags on their backs while trying to proceed across a field to someone calling them. Other players tackle the blindfolded target.
It's unclear exactly how the Glass Ceiling game resulted in Chen "Michael" Deng's death, but police sources also tell CBS 2 that Pi Delta Psi fraternity members did not call 911 after Deng was injured, and waited hours before bringing him to a hospital some 30 miles away. Deng was unconscious and unresponsive when he was admitted to Geisinger Wyoming Valley Hospital in northeast Pennsylvania Sunday morning. He died on Monday.
Deng, a freshman from Queens who was studying finance, had traveled to the house in the Poconos with some thirty members of the fraternity, which describes itself as an "Asian-American Cultural Fraternity." Pi Delta Psi has not issued a statement on Deng's death, but last night Baruch College had this to say:
Baruch College is saddened to confirm the recent death of Chun Hsien (Michael) Deng, a Baruch freshman, as reported to us by the president of the national fraternity Pi Delta Psi. The preliminary reports indicate that Michael died over the weekend while participating in an unsanctioned fraternity pledging event in the Poconos, PA. Baruch College had no knowledge of this event or that the fraternity was rushing a pledge class. Pi Delta Psi did not request permission nor were they approved by Baruch on this matter.
Baruch College has a zero tolerance policy regarding hazing. All fraternities and sororities on Baruch’s campus are required to attend the College’s orientation and training session at the beginning of the academic year, which includes anti-hazing training and literature. All attendees are required to sign statements that they understand and will abide by the College’s policies regarding organizing a pledge class and anti-hazing protocols. Michael’s death is a deeply painful reminder that no individual should ever be put into a position where his or her personal safety is in jeopardy. Our deepest sympathies go out to Michael’s family and his friends both at Baruch and at home.
Along with its own internal review, Baruch is cooperating fully with law enforcement as this incident is investigated.
The Times notes that fraternities are not a huge presence at Baruch; no local chapters of fraternities have residential houses at the campus, and Pi Delta Psi met in a small office shared with two other campus clubs. "I've never heard about any hazing incident in any fraternity or sorority on this campus, we're really good about that actually that's why I'm pretty surprised," one student told ABC 7.