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NYC's Baruch College Hit With $25M Suit in Fraternity Hazing Death

Michael Deng's family say the school knew about Pi Delta Psi's dangerous traditions and should have stopped them.
Image: Michael Deng and his father
Michael Deng poses with his father in this undated photo.Courtesy Douglas Fierberg

The family of a college freshman killed in fraternity hazing has sued the school for $25 million, alleging it knew about the dangerous traditions and failed to stop them.

The filing by Michael Deng's parents against Baruch College in New York City comes two weeks after they sued the fraternity and dozens of its members for the teenager's December 2013 death.

According to police reports, Deng joined Pi Delta Psi pledges on an annual weekend retreat at a house in Pennsylvania, where he took part in a ritual called "The Gauntlet." They were blindfolded and ordered to carry a backpack filled with 20 pounds of sand across a snow-covered field while fraternity brothers charged and tackled them.

Deng suffered a head injury, but instead of calling 911, the other frat members called the organization's president, who told them to destroy evidence, the suit charges. They Googled Deng's symptoms before driving him to the hospital, where he died, police charged.

Though Deng's death was ruled a homicide and prosecutors vowed to charge those responsible, no one has been arrested.

Baruch banned Pi Delta Psi and last week extended a moratorium on rushing and pledging activities at all frats and sororities for three years — but the lawsuit says that was too little, too late.

"Baruch College knew about dangerous traditions and hazing in the Pi Delta Psi fraternity and failed to stop such traditions, warn incoming pledges such as Michael, or undertake other duties required of it by law," the suit says.