[UPDATE BELOW] A freshman at Baruch College in the Flatiron District died Monday morning after a weekend trip to the Poconos with members of the Pi Delta Psi fraternity. Chen “Michael” Deng, 19, was unresponsive when friends delivered him to Geisinger Wyoming Valley Hospital in northeast Pennsylvania at approximately 8:15 a.m. on Sunday. During treatment for his unspecified injuries, the Pocono Record reports that he suffered major brain trauma and was placed on life support. Yesterday he died.
When police arrived at the residence in Tunkhannock Township on Sunday, they found some 20 members of Pi Delta Psi, an "Asian-American Cultural Fraternity." Investigators determined that in the early morning hours, Deng, who was pledging the fraternity, was injured during "a ritual" in the yard. The death remains under investigation.
Andy Meng, the current president of Pi Delta Psi, did not respond to a request for comment. (The Baruch chapter of Pi Delta Psi's Facebook page was taken down today.) A Baruch College representative told us the school is currently preparing a statement.
Update 6:02 p.m.: Here's the full statement from Baruch:
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.