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Baruch hazing death ruled a homicide

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Excerpt:

Baruch College freshman Chun “Michael” Deng, 19, died in December of “closed head injuries … due to blunt force head trauma,” said Mary Wallace of the Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, coroner’s office.

In a statement Friday, Baruch College said it “supports the ongoing efforts of Monroe County law enforcement to hold responsible those involved in the tragic death.”

The college had said Deng died while participating in an unsanctioned fraternity pledging event and that it has a “zero tolerance policy regarding hazing.”

Charges are expected in Deng’s death, Monroe County District Attorney E. David Christine said in December.

More than 30 members of Pi Delta Psi were conducting a ritual outdoors for new pledges called the “glass ceiling,” according to a probable cause affidavit obtained by CNN.

The objective was for Deng, who was blindfolded and wearing a backpack filled with a 20-pound bag of sand, to navigate toward someone who was calling for him “while other fraternity brothers physically prevent that from happening,” witnesses said, according to the affidavit.

Deng fell backward, struck his head and was unconscious and unresponsive immediately after he fell, the document states.

Pi Delta Psi Fraternity Inc. said after Deng’s death that it had “revoked and terminated all affiliation with the Baruch Colony,” as the fraternity is known.

By Hank Nuwer

Journalist Hank Nuwer is the Alaska author of Hazing: Destroying Young Lives; Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His current book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press. He is married to Malgorzata Wroblewska Nuwer of Warsaw, Poland and Fairbanks, Alaska. Nuwer is a former columnist for the Greenville (Ohio)Early Bird and former managing editor of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner in Alaska.
Nuwer was named the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists columnist of the year in 2021 for his “After Darke” column in the Early Bird. He also won third place for the column in 2022 from the Indiana chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He and his wife Gosia, recently of Union City, Ind., have owned 20 acres in Alaska for many years. “The move is a sort-of coming home for us,” said Nuwer. As a journalist, he’s written about the Alaskan Iditarod sled-dog race and other Alaska topics. Read his musings in his blog at Real Alaska Daily--http://realalaskadaily.com and in his weekly column "Far from Randolph" in the Winchester Star-Gazette of Randolph County, Indiana.

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