Hazing News

Delaware death

Fox News
Philadelphia , PA
November 9,2008U Of D Student’s Death Possibly Caused By Excessive Drinking

NEWARK , Del.  –  Newark police are looking into the possibility of an alcohol overdose as part of the investigation of a University of Delaware freshman’s death.

Paramedics and police were called to an off-campus house on Annabelle Street just before 3 a.m. Saturday, where they found 18-year-old Brett Griffin of Kendall Park , New Jersey , in cardiac arrest and not breathing.

He was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead a short time later.

Police said Griffin was a pledge of the Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity and was attending a function at the fraternity’s house. About 40 people were at the house at the time.

“It’s devastating, a new kid, a freshman, a new experience. Came to college and didn’t get to experience the whole four years,” said next-door neighbor Bobby Sabol.

Police said an overdose of alcohol is being investigated as a preliminary cause of the young man’s death.

As news spread, fellow students reacted to the tragic news.

“It does upset me actually that drinking is that out of control here, that it can’t be something just fun,” said Jeff Meyer, senior at University of Delaware.

Several empty liquor bottles, beer cans and cups were found scattered at the scene.

According to University of Delaware police, the death may have been induced by a night filled with drinking games.

An autopsy will be performed most likely on Sunday. Police say charges may follow if the medical examiner determines that alcohol was a factor.

University Of Delaware Extends Condolences To Victim’s Family

The University of Delaware community extends condolences to the family and friends of freshman Brett Griffin, 18, who died Nov. 8, Michael A. Gilbert, vice president for students affairs, announced today.

“Our deepest sympathies go out to Mr. Griffin’s family and to his many friends on our campus,” Gilbert said. “His death is a tragedy for us all.”

Newark Police report that Mr. Griffin, a freshman from Kendall Park , N.J. , was found unconscious at a party in the early morning at a house on Annabelle Street in Newark . An ambulance from the Aetna Hose Hook & Ladder Company responded to a 911 call and found him in cardiac arrest and not breathing. The crew and New Castle County paramedics initiated life-saving measures at the scene and while he was being taken to Christiana Hospital , where he was pronounced dead.

According to the police, Mr. Griffin was a pledge of the Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity and was attending a party at the house, which is occupied by several members of the fraternity. Police are investigating an overdose of alcohol as the primary cause of the emergency.

The University is cooperating fully with Newark Police on the investigation into the cause of his death.

Counselors from the University’s Center for Counseling and Student Development and staff from the offices of Student Life and Residence Life are available to offer support to Mr. Griffin’s friends and colleagues on the campus. UD students who are stressed or concerned should contact the Office of the Dean of Students or the Counseling Center .

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. In April of 2024, the Alaska Press Club awarded him first place in the Best Columnist division and Best Humorist, second place.

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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