Hazing News

Bulletin: A TKE pledge, Nikolas Gallegos, has died after a party at Stephen F. Austin


Treated for alcohol poisoning, Stephen F. Austin freshman dies

NACOGDOCHES — A Stephen F. Austin freshman treated for alcohol poisoning following an off-campus party has died, police said.

Nikolas Gallegos, 18, of Mesquite, died Sunday night at a hospital after being driven there earlier that weekend, Nacogdoches police Sgt. Greg Sowell said.

Sowell said it’s unknown how much alcohol Gallegos drank, only that he did “to the point where he became ill.”

Gallegos was a Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity pledge, school spokesman Andy Kesling said. Authorities said friends took Gallegos to the hospital after finding him unresponsive Saturday morning at an off-campus apartment where a party had taken place.

The party was not an official fraternity event, Kesling said.

Gallegos is the university’s first student to die from an apparent alcohol overdose, said Steve Westbrook, the vice president for university affairs.

“We take this very seriously,” Westbrook said.

Westbrook said Gallegos had completed a mandatory alcohol education class before school began. Stephen F. Austin has offered the course for two years, with this being the first that the class was mandatory.

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-- and in his weekly column "Far from Randolph" in the Winchester Star-Gazette of Randolph County, Indiana.

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