Chen “Michael” Deng, 19, was pronounced dead on December 10, two days after he was brought to Geisinger Wyoming Valley Hospital in northeast Pennsylvania, reports The Poconos Record. He was in the Poconos pledging for the Pi Delta Psi fraternity chapter of Manhattan’s Baruch College.
A Pennsylvania prosecutor has promised that charges will be filed in the case though what exactly those charges are won’t be decided until the investigation has concluded, reports ABC New York.
Here’s what you need to know about this tragedy:
1. He Suffered Brain Damage
Michael Deng was a freshman at Baruch College when he was pledging for Pi Delta Psi, an “Asian-American Cultural Fraternity.” He was brought to hospital at 8:15 a.m. on December 8 where he was treated for brain trauma injuries, he died two days later, reports The Morning Call.
2. He Allegedly Died Performing ‘The Glass Ceiling’
Deng’s death is under investigation. It’s already been determined that he died during a “ritual” in the yard. The University Herald reports that Chen was participating in something called “The Glass Ceiling.” An act where he may have been forced to carry heavy items while blindfolded. The participant is required to make his way to someone who is calling his name, during the process he is tackled by other frat members.
3. The Frat Is Saying Nothing
The Facebook page for the Baruch College chapter of Pi Delta Psi was shut down on December 11. The college has released a statement:
Baruch College is saddened to confirm the recent death of Chun Hsien (Michael) Deng, a Baruch freshman, as reported to us by the president of the national fraternity Pi Delta Psi. The preliminary reports indicate that Michael died over the weekend while participating in an unsanctioned fraternity pledging event in the Poconos, PA. 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 this matter.
Baruch College has a zero tolerance policy regarding hazing. All fraternities and sororities on Baruch’s campus are required to attend the College’s orientation and training session at the beginning of the academic year, which includes anti-hazing training and literature. All attendees are required to sign statements that they understand and will abide by the College’s policies regarding organizing a pledge class and anti-hazing protocols. Michael’s death is a deeply painful reminder that no individual should ever be put into a position where his or her personal safety is in jeopardy. Our deepest sympathies go out to Michael’s family and his friends both at Baruch and at home.
Along with its own internal review, Baruch is cooperating fully with law enforcement as this incident is investigated.
The frat describes its “mission” on its national website:
The mission of Pi Delta Psi Fraternity, Inc. is to maintain its Fraternal existence by instilling values that nurture and perpetuate the continual growth and development of the individual through Academic Achievement, Cultural Awareness, Righteousness, Friendship and Loyalty while fostering ethical behavior, leadership, and philanthropy.
Pi Delta Psi was founded on these principles to help promote Asian Awareness amongst ourselves and throughout the community. We envisioned this to be possible by going out of the boundaries of an organization and creating a Fraternity on the basis of common goals and ideals in the form of a brotherhood. We believe that through education, we can become more knowledgeable about the different Asian cultures, overcome obstacles of racism and discrimination, therefore unifying us as a whole.
This mission statement embodies the purpose of our Fraternity and is set forth as a guide that empowers each member to better himself, the Brotherhood, community, and society as a whole.
4. 30 Members of the Frat Were in the Poconos
The accident happened at a house on Candlewood Drive in the Tunkhannock Township. When police arrived at the home they found around 20 members of the Pi Delta Psi fraternity. Cops later determined that 30 members of the frat had traveled from NYC to the Poconos for the weekend.
5. Chen is a Queens Native
Chen was originally from Oakland Gardens, Queens. He graduated from Bronx High School of Science, an “elite” school, according to DNA Info.
The Queens Courier reports that Deng was studying finance at the college and was living in halls of residence at the school.
Jason Lin, 18, who had attended a pledging event with Deng in the fall described the victim as a “very cool guy. He’s a funny guy.” He was also defensive about Pi Delta Psi calling them one of the “cooler” and “down to earth” frats.