Baruch Fraternity Pledge Game Leads to Student's Death

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Baruch College's campus.
Baruch College's campus. Photo: Aaron Van Dorn / Flickr

The 19-year-old Baruch College student who died during a retreat with his fraternity experienced "major brain trauma," the New York Times reports, but it's still unclear exactly what happened to cause it. The student, Chun Hsien Deng, was playing a game called Glass Ceiling as part of his pledge ritual for the fraternity Pi Delta Psi, which had rented a house in the Poconos near Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, last weekend. In the game, the pledge gets blindfolded and a weight is placed on his back. Then, "he has to navigate blind to someone who's called for him," prosecutor E. David Christine Jr. said. "It's played outside, and as he makes his way, other people are trying to tackle him to prevent him from reaching his goal."

Deng was injured early on Sunday but his frat brothers didn't take him to the emergency room immediately. They brought him into the house and "after some time" decided to drive him to the hospital, where he died on Monday. The hospital called police on Sunday morning, and they're now investigating what happened, and why it took so long to get Deng to the hospital.

Baruch meanwhile is distancing itself from the incident. "Baruch College had no knowledge of this event or that the fraternity was rushing a pledge class. Pi Delta Psi did not request permission nor were they approved by Baruch on the matter," president Mitchel B. Wallerstein said in a statement, per DNAinfo. Baruch has no frat houses, and the Times notes that "Pi Delta Psi’s official meeting room was a small office space that it shared with two other campus clubs." Deng was apparently one of four pledges among the 30 or so members on the weekend retreat.