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Baruch College permanently bans frat after hazing death

Pi Delta Psi has severed ties with its Baruch College (above) colony after the hazing death of Michael Deng.
Pi Delta Psi has severed ties with its Baruch College (above) colony after the hazing death of Michael Deng.Carlo Allegri/Reuters

A New York City college has issued a permanent ban on the Pi Delta Psi fraternity after a freshman was killed during an unsanctioned hazing ritual during a retreat in Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains.

In an email to students and staff on Wednesday, Baruch College's president also revealed that some of the students who took part in the deadly gathering Dec. 8 are not cooperating with the school's probe.

Michael Deng, 19, suffered major brain trauma after he was repeatedly tackled during a challenge called "The Gauntlet," in which pledges wearing blindfolds and sand-filled packs were pushed and shoved in the freezing dark, police said.

Court documents detail how participants allegedly waited an hour or more to take an "unresponsive" Deng to the hospital and then lied to police and tried to cover up the fact that it was a fraternity gathering.

"Michael’s faith in his fraternity’s goals and its leadership was betrayed when he was exposed to an illegal and unsanctioned hazing ritual," Baruch President Mitchel Wallerstein wrote.

"The fraternity did not request permission (as required), nor were they approved to have a pledge class, let alone a 'crossing' ritual."

No one has been charged in Deng's death, but police say it's likely that someone will be. Baruch is trying to interview everyone involved so it can decide who should be punished, but it's run into some roadblocks.

"Unfortunately, some students have so far refused to cooperate with our review and that of law enforcement; so it may take additional time to ensure that our process is accurate and fair," Wallerstein wrote.

The national office of Pi Delta Psi, which describes itself as an Asian-American cultural fraternity, has also severed ties with the Baruch colony, insisting it has a no-hazing policy.

Officers of the colony had signed Baruch's no-hazing agreement in September, the school said.