‘Occurrences of concern’
Nowhere on West Virginia University’s website did it say that Kappa Sigma fraternity had a history of, as the school now puts it, “occurrences of concern” — specifically referring to the fraternity “behaving inappropriately and hosting an unsanctioned event.” The fraternity was also warned about overcrowding in its off-campus residence.
Burch, a WVU freshman, died following a fraternity hazing event in November 2014. His blood alcohol content was measured at 0.493, more than six times the legal limit to drive. His death led to the suspension of all Greek activities at WVU and criminal charges against two Kappa Sigma brothers.
Two days before the event, where police say Burch and others were blindfolded and forced to drink liquor, the national office of Kappa Sigma notified WVU that it was pulling the charter of the local fraternity chapter. According to a statement given to CNN, the national office directed the local chapter to stop holding functions. But that directive was ignored, according to the fraternity’s national office.
“They’d been in so much trouble they (the national office) put cameras in the fraternity house,” Burch’s mother, Kim Burch, told CNN. “The frat actually installed cameras.”
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Kim and T.J. Burch say their 18-year-old son was not aware of the fraternity’s troubles when he decided to pledge. No one told him, and no one told his parents either.
“We had no idea, unfortunately, until Nolan passed, that there had been so many problems,” Kim Burch said. “It’s sad. It’s really sad. If we had known this was going on, we would have never let him join this fraternity.”