University of Kentucky fraternity member found unresponsive dies of ‘presumed alcohol toxicity’

Southeast

LEXINGTON, Ky. (NewsNation Now) — A first-year University of Kentucky student died after being found unresponsive at a fraternity house, and the coroner’s office said the student died from “presumed alcohol toxicity.”

Fayette County Coroner Gary Ginn identified the student as Thomas “Lofton” Hazelwood, 18, of Henderson. Toxicology test results are pending.

The student was a member of FarmHouse Fraternity. The university suspended activities at the fraternity while Hazelwood’s death is being investigated, University President Eli Capilouto and Vice President for Student Success Kirsten Turner said in a message to the campus community Tuesday evening.

University spokesman Jay Blanton said campus police were called to the fraternity around 6:20 p.m. Monday. The student was taken to a hospital, but attempts to revive him were unsuccessful, Blanton said.

“Foul play is not suspected, but police are investigating the circumstances of his death,” Blanton said.

UK Police have started their investigation. Chief Joe Monroe told NewsNation affiliate WDKY they’re in the process of interviewing people. UK’s Office of Student Conduct is also beginning a review.

They’ve said those investigations will be made public once they are complete, although there may be some redactions to protect students’ privacy.

Blanton told WDKY they realize it may take some time to finish both investigations. However, he said it’s too early to speculate if there will be any changes to their fraternity and sorority system, but it would be part of the investigation.

Hazelwood was majoring in agricultural economics, Blanton said.

The university held a vigil Tuesday night to remember Hazelwood; another one was planned for Wednesday evening.

The university is asking anyone who knows what happened to call UK Police.

According to a study at the University of Dayton, 55% of all students involved in clubs, teams or organizations experienced some kind of hazing.

The study also found that hazing incidents at Greek life organizations can result in serious injuries, or even death, especially if alcohol is involved.

These are four universities where a pattern of hazing assaults and other serious incidents have led to officials suspending Greek organizations. They include the University of Kentucky and the University of Missouri. Also on that list, Ohio University where they suspended a fraternity for four years over hazing violations. And in late September, Northwestern University suspended all fraternity activities.

Magnifying the problem of hazing incidents is that students don’t often inform officials when it happens.

In the Dayton study, 36% of students said they wouldn’t report hazing because they felt like there was just simply no one that they could tell.

The Associated Press and NewsNation affiliate WDKY contributed to this report.

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