Tag Archives: Baruch College

Charges expected in hazing death of Baruch College student


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy New York Daily News

Charges are expected in the death of a Baruch College student from Queens who was killed in a fraternity hazing ritual last year, according to published reports.

Chun “Michael” Deng, a 19-year-old from Oakland Gardens, died from head injuries during an unsanctioned Pi Delta Psi event in Pennsylvania in December.

Authorities are expected to file charges against most of the around 30 Baruch students that were on the trip, the New York Times first reported.

Deng, a freshman at the school, was reportedly one of several pledges who were forced to wear weighted bags and navigate a path through a yard, while being repeatedly knocked to the ground.

His death was ruled a homicide in February, as a result of blunt-force head trauma.

The charges are likely to include homicide, which in Pennsylvania cover everything from involuntary manslaughter to premeditated murder, reports said. The students could also be charged with hazing, a misdemeanor, according to the New York Times.

Following Deng’s death, the national Pi Delta Psi organization severed ties with the Baruch colony and suspended its national new member outreach.

 

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Bill proposed in honor of Baruch student who died in frat hazing ritual


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy New York Daily News

Following the fraternity hazing death of a 19-year-old Queens man, a local politician is proposing a law that could prevent a similar tragedy.

Assemblymember David Weprin introduced a bill on Sunday, known as Michael Deng’s law, that would ban all physical conduct and activities by fraternities during initiation or affiliation ceremonies. Anyone who takes part in these activities would be guilty of hazing in the first degree, according to Weprin.

The bill honors Baruch College freshman Chun “Michael” Deng. The teen, who was from Oakland Gardens, died from head injuries during an unsanctioned Pi Delta Psi event in Pennsylvania in December, according to authorities and the fraternity’s National Executive President Andy Meng.

Deng was reportedly one of several pledges on the trip who was forced to wear weighted bags and navigate a path through a yard, while being repeatedly knocked to the ground.

Earlier this month, his death was ruled a homicide.

 

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Death of Baruch student who died in frat ritual ruled homicide


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy New York Daily News

MELISSA CHAN AND CRISTABELLE TUMOLA

Updated 4:15 p.m.

The death of a 19-year-old Baruch College student from Queens who was killed in a fraternity hazing ritual has been ruled a homicide, the Luzerne County Coroner Office confirmed Friday.

Chun “Michael” Deng, a freshman at the school, passed away on Dec. 9 from head injuries during an unsanctioned Pi Delta Psi event in Pennsylvania, according to authorities and the fraternity’s National Executive President Andy Meng.

Deng died from blunt-force head trauma, the coroner office said.

Pocono Mountain Regional Police Chief Harry Lewis plans on meeting with the Monroe County district attorney’s office next week to to discuss the coroner’s findings and the next steps in the case, NBC News reported.

Deng, of Oakland Gardens, was one of four pledges who traveled to the Poconos with more than 30 fraternity members the weekend before his death, the district attorney said.

The blindfolded pledges were reportedly forced to wear weighted bags and navigate a path through a yard, while being repeatedly knocked to the ground.

Following the incident, the national Pi Delta Psi organization severed ties with the Baruch colony and suspended its national new member outreach, according to a statement.

Sources in different chapters of the fraternity told The Courier that versions of the ritual are still being carried out, even though it has been banned for at least 10 years due to its dangerous nature.

Pi Delta Psi, a fast growing Asian-interest society, has 20 chapters in the country and four colonies, including Baruch, according to its website.

 

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Fraternity hazing ritual that killed Baruch freshman from Queens was banned


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy New York Daily News

The fraternity hazing ritual that claimed the life of a 19-year-old pledge from Queens last week was banned before the tragic death, according to the brotherhood’s national headquarters.

Chun “Michael” Deng, a Baruch College freshman, died Dec. 9 from head injuries during an unsanctioned Pi Delta Psi event in Pennsylvania, according to authorities and the fraternity’s National Executive President Andy Meng.

Deng, of Oakland Gardens, was one of four pledges who went away to the Poconos last weekend with more than 30 fraternity members, the Monroe County district attorney said.

The blindfolded pledges were reportedly forced to wear weighted bags and navigate a path through a yard, while being repeatedly knocked to the ground.

“I just got to know him,” said Julio Hewu, a Pi Delta Psi fraternity brother at Baruch. “He was good guy.”

Deng died from blunt-force head trauma, the Luzerne County Coroner Office’s said, after he was put on life support at Wilkes-Barre Hospital.

The national Pi Delta Psi organization has since severed ties with the Baruch colony and suspended its national new member outreach, according to a statement.

“Michael will be greatly missed,” said Meng, who is from Queens. “We continue to cooperate with the proper entities and ask all individual members involved to come forward in aiding the investigation.”

Various versions of the ritual are still being carried out, even though it has been banned for at least 10 years due to its dangerous nature, sources in different chapters of the fraternity told The Courier.

“The way it was originally performed and how I experienced it, I’m not surprised that it killed somebody,” said a Pi Delta Psi alumnus, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “I can’t say for sure how it was performed in this deadly incident, but the results are tragic and I pray for Deng’s family.”

“I also pray for the brothers involved in the incident,” the source said, “as I’m sure their intentions were good and they are going through the most terrifying moments of their life to have to live with this.”

Another former fraternity brother said the specific ritual has caused broken legs and concussions.

“It’s really sad, but I’m not shocked,” he said. “It was only a matter of time before this happened.”

Baruch College said in a statement it had no knowledge of the event. The fraternity was not approved to rush a pledge class.

“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,” the college said.

Pi Delta Psi, a fast growing Asian-interest society, has 20 chapters in the country and four colonies, including Baruch, according to its website.

An investigation into Deng’s death is ongoing, the Monroe County Police Department said. The district attorney expects to file charges, according to the Associated Press.
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Oakland Gardens resident from Baruch College dies in fraternity pledge ritual


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Jim.henderson

A  Baruch College freshman from Oakland Gardens died Monday after he was severely injured in a fraternity hazing ritual in Pennsylvania, cops said.

Chun “Michael” Deng, 19, was one of four pledges who were staying with more than 30 members of the national fraternity Pi Delta Psi in a home in the Poconos over the weekend, police said.

Deng suffered “major brain trauma” while participating in a hazing ritual on Sunday morning where pledges wear weighted bags and are blindfolded then are forced to navigate a path while they are repeatedly knocked to the ground, according to NBC News.

Deng was brought to Geisinger Wyoming Valley Hospital in critical condition and he was unresponsive, authorities said.

Deng was studying finance at Baruch. He attended the Bronx High School of Science, the New York Times said.

The Monroe County District Attorney David Christine said charges will be filed in the fraternity ritual death of Deng, but he won’t decide which charges to file until police complete their investigation, according to published reports.

 

Additional reporting by Liam La Guerre 

 

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Star of Queens: Shawn Slevin, founder, Swim Strong Foundation


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

SHAWN SLEVIN

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Shawn Slevin founded the Swim Strong Foundation in 2009. Slevin and her team of about 55 volunteers provide water safety and swim programs to nearly 2,000 people throughout Queens and parts of Brooklyn. Being a nonprofit, Slevin also works on connecting with local businesses to acquire funding, and she also looks to partner with different health care companies who occasionally come to any of the foundation’s four locations to give talks about the importance of good nutrition and great exercise, which ultimately can fend off diabetes and obesity.

PERSONAL BACKGROUND: A New York City native, Slevin was born in Manhattan and raised in Woodside. She attended the Mary Lewis Academy and Baruch College, and swam for a time at both institutions. Before starting the Swim Strong Foundation, Slevin coached for 40 years at St. Sebastian’s in Woodside, and is grateful to have had the “over 8,000 children that she has had the fortune of working with.” Slevin credits her strong work ethic to her family, and said she thinks that “we all stand on the shoulders of those who came before us.”

FAVORITE MEMORY: Instead of pinpointing one specific moment that trumps the others, Slevin believes that her entire experience with the foundation was and will continue to be eternally rewarding. “To be able to do this work is incredible,” said Slevin. “To be so fortunate to have found your advocacy in life and be able to embrace it and change not only your life, but others that you work with – that’s powerful.”

INSPIRATION: Slevin was initially inspired to begin her foundation because of the students she coached in her early years. Many of them kept in touch with their former coach, and would tell Slevin that the work they all did together really set them on the right path for success in their future. The swimming routine helped them apply discipline to other areas of their lives, such as schoolwork and overall focus, and Slevin wanted to take that to a broader scale. “It’s not about what we do in the pool, it’s about how we live our lives,” said Slevin. “It’s about helping people first and foremost; helping them get the skills and the confidence to protect themselves and be strong in the water, and how do they take that into other aspects of their lives.”

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: As a nonprofit, the Swim Strong Foundation doesn’t have a budget to go out and advertise, so it relies primarily on word of mouth. Slevin said that the biggest challenge for her is figuring out how to get to the next level – ultimately, she hopes to be able to spread outside of Queens and Brooklyn.

 

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