Awful news today out of West Virginia University, where 18-year-old freshman Nolan Burch, from Buffalo, New York, was found unresponsive at Kappa Sigma fraternity house following an unofficial event there. Apparently police were called to the house a few minutes before midnight due to a “catastrophic medical emergency.” According to WTAE:
Police say someone was performing CPR on Burch, who had no pulse and was not breathing. The 2014 Canisius High School graduate was rushed to Ruby Memorial Hospital, where he was placed in intensive care in critical condition.
This morning he passed at Morgantown’s Ruby Memorial Hospital, according to multiple reports. WVU President E. Gordon Gee released the following statement:
“Words cannot describe the heartache we, as a West Virginia University family, feel at the loss of one of our own – Nolan Michael Burch – who passed away today.”
“The outpouring of love and support from his friends and this community has been what you would expect from Mountaineers, and I would ask that you continue to keep the Burch family and many friends in your thoughts and prayers.”
Meanwhile, while an investigation is underway and WVU has suspended all Greek Life activities across the campus. That’s 100% the right move here so the community can focus on mourning Burch and making sure another tragedy doesn’t happen again. WVU Dean of Students Corey Farris told the USA Today: “This is pretty grave, and so, we’re just taking a step back … Let’s take a look at where we’re going and is this the right direction, the right reputation we want to have.” The moratorium could last until the end of the semester. Via:
As a result of this incident, as well as one on November 6 where a fraternity was suspended and 19 people were arrested on alcohol-related charges, the university announced Thursday it is placing all fraternities and sororities on moratorium, and suspending all social and pledging activities until further notice.
Meanwhile, Morgantown police were interviewing dozens of students and sorting through surveillance video Friday from the incident. Police Chief Ed Preston said there remain a number of unanswered questions.
“That’s all part of the investigation. How he came to be in the condition that he was, who was there, the witnesses, everything going on prior to him being discovered,” said Preston. “We’re looking at possibly more than 50 people to interview, so it’s a lengthy process.”
Friday, Kappa Sigma Fraternity released a statement regarding Burch and the criminal investigation. According to the release, the fraternity had already been reprimanded prior to West Virginia University’s campus-wide moratorium that was placed on all Greek activities Thursday.
According to Chief Preston, at least one other student was treated the same night Burch was found for alcohol-related issues. Those issues could lead to criminal charges. “Obviously he’s not old enough to buy alcohol, so who gave it to him. Who provided it?”
Just awful and heart-breaking. Thoughts and prayers to Nolan’s family and friends.
I am very saddened to hear that our student Nolan Burch passed away today. My heart breaks for his family.
— E. Gordon Gee (@gordongee) November 14, 2014
I hope the entire WVU community understands how precious every life is to this University. We must help to prevent similar tragedies. — E. Gordon Gee (@gordongee) November 14, 2014