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Renegade chapter at Geneseo suffers death. Police investigate hazing

Students, administrators react to SUNY Geneseo student’s death

A sophomore at SUNY Geneseo is found dead at an off-campus party. Monday, we found out he was pledging a fraternity and police believe hazing is involved.

An autopsy was performed this afternoon, but no word on what caused the death of Arman Partamian.

Police believe the 19 year old from Flushing, New York, drank too much alcohol. He was biology major and a volunteer with the Geneseo Fire Department.

“It’s kind of shocking that it actually did happen,” says Jess McKenna a Geneseo Junior

Freshman Ben Jay says, “Frat parties here have a tendency to be quite crazy.”

“It’s tragic,” says Sophomore Ryan O’Connor “Of course, a lot of people knew him on campus”

The news of what happened over the weekend at this off-campus frat house spread fast on the SUNY Geneseo campus.

“This is a terrible tragedy for us and we’re all grieving and mourning,” says Dr. Robert Bonfiglio SUNY Geneseo’s Vice President for Student and Campus Life

Arman Partamian was a sophomore and lived here in Ontario Hall. But on Saturday, he was here at the PIG house off campus.

“The only purpose I’ve seen that this fraternity engages in is drinking,” says Major Mark Haas of the New York State Police.

State Police say Partamian had been drinking since one o’clock Saturday afternoon. They say he consumed everything from beer to champagne, to gin and vodka. Investigators say he was pledging to be a PIG, and to be a member – you have to drink.

“Could be beer football, beer pong, dizzy bat were some of the games these pledges were required to participate in.”

By 11 o’clock Sunday morning Partamian was dead. SUNY Geneseo officials have banned PIGS from campus in the past after two students were hospitalized after a party. That was years ago. Now a student is dead.

“What we have here is a mixture of college students, alcohol and bad judgment.” said Dr. Bonfiglio.

The University wants the PIGS shutdown, but all they can do is discourage students from joining what they call the renegade or underground fraternity.

Students we spoke with know the PIGS’ reputation.

“They’re tended to be more extreme in their activities so I know a lot of people try to avoid that particular organization,” says McKenna.

Partamian was just two weeks into the pledging process. Now the chess club champs and Boy Scout leader will never be a part of the fraternity.

“From all accounts this was a guy whose future was nothing but bright and that only magnifies what a sad, sad day this is for us,” said Dr. Bonfiglio.

At this point, no arrests have been made but police are looking into who provided the alcohol at the party and SUNY Geneseo is looking to immediately suspend any students involved at least temporarily.

We’re told Partamian had a rare blood disease called Evan’s syndrome, no word if that contributed to his death.

The house where Partamian was found dead had to be re-built after it burned to the ground in February of 1999.

20-year-old Jesse Rodgers died in that fire.

He was a student at SUNY Geneseo. The house belonged to the Omega Beta Psi fraternity at the time of the fire.

By Hank Nuwer

Hank Nuwer is the Indiana-based author of 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 new book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press.

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