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WVU suspends all Greek activities after death

By Candace Kellner
Staff Writer

West Virginia University officials have suspended all Greek activities on campus after the death of a freshman who was found unconscious at a fraternity house. Nolan Burch, 18, of Williamsville, New York, was found unconscious at a Kappa Sigma fraternity house in Morgantown, West Virginia. According to officials, he died two days later in the hospital.

The university and Morgantown police are investigating what had happened the night paramedics rushed to the fraternity “where a catastrophic medical emergency was in progress,” according to a WVU statement. The university has not provided details about the circumstances of Burch’s death, and Morgantown Police

Department declined to comment on the issue, according to CNN.
A joint statement made by West Virginia University, the Inter-Fraternity Council and the Panhellenic Council stated that all Greek activities at the university, including “all chapter social and pledging activities,” have been suspended “until further notice.”

Corey Farris, dean of students at the college, told CNN that Burch’s death came a week after a “disturbance” involving a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity. The police are also investigating this incident, he said.

The Sigma Chi chapter was suspended by its national chapter and the university prior to Burch’s death after 19 fraternity pledges were abandoned in a residential neighborhood and ordered to find their way home, according to CNN.

The suspension on Greek activities will remain in effect until at least the end of this semester. Farris told CNN that the university is taking the time to reexamine its Greek organizations.

“Is this just a couple of bad apples?” Farris said. “We don’t know. We are taking a pause to examine if there’s some sort of pattern on campus.”

The national chapter of Kappa Sigma Fraternity reported that it was also investigating Burch’s death.

“This proves difficult, as the operations of this chapter have been suspended since mid-October, due to previous, unrelated violations of Kappa Sigma’s Code of Conduct,” the fraternity said in a statement.

Subsequently, the chapter and school were notified on Monday, Nov. 10, prior to the event in question, that the group’s charter had been withdrawn and its operations had been closed. Kappa Sigma declined to further comment on the ongoing investigation.

Farris told CNN that Kappa Sigma’s national office had informed the university that it pulled the fraternity’s charter.

“No reason was given, but we were told they’d follow up with an official letter,” he said.

Although WVU has not received the official letter, it has decided to suspend the fraternity until 2019.

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