Hazing News

Police know cause of death of Lambda Chi Alpha deceased…but mum about it

Investigators are refusing to release the cause of death for 19-year-old Zach Wardrip, who died inside a Murray State University fraternity house

WPSD did an open records request. They report this (excerpt)

MURRAY, KY — Investigators are refusing to release the cause of death for 19-year-old Zach Wardrip, who died inside a Murray State University fraternity house.

Calloway County Coroner Rick Garland says Wardrip’s autopsy and toxicology reports are complete, but Murray police are withholding the information, because they say it’s part of an ongoing investigation. It could be a few more weeks until we know how Wardrip died.

In the meantime, fraternities and sororities at MSU are still not allowed to host any social events. The university says it’s because of multiple incidents that happened during the school year. Through an Open Records Request, we found some of those incidents include alcohol use, hazing allegations, and policy violations.

As part of the suspension, the university has put together a Greek Life Social Standards Committee to investigate current Greek letter groups’ social policies at the school.

MSU President Bob Davies says Greek letter organizations are vital to campus life, and they provide students with leadership opportunities. He says the university is getting some positive feedback on the social suspension decision.

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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