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IVY League UPENN Fraternity Found Guilty After Hazing Manslaughter

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STROUDSBURG, Pa. — Mr. Chun Hsien Deng, a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania, was killed four years ago when pledging the fraternity, Pi Delta Psi, during Rush Week. Just after, the fraternity was put on trial for aggravated assault and involuntary manslaughter.

The student, Chun Hsien Deng, had traveled in December 2013 from New York City to a rental house in the Poconos where he was supposed to finish the pledging process for Pi Delta Psi, an Asian-American fraternity. Early on a cold morning, the student, Mr. Deng was blindfolded and forced to wear a backpack weighted with sand. He was tackled and pushed around by fraternity members before he fell unconscious, the authorities said. The members carried him inside; Mr. Deng’s body was stiff and his breathing became labored. They changed his clothes and tried unsuccessfully to revive him. He never regained consciousness and was pronounced dead the next day.

One of the fraternity members later told investigators, according to the report, they had resisted calling for an ambulance because one of them had looked up the cost and they thought it was expensive. A national fraternity official told members over the phone to hide anything bearing the fraternity’s logo, the report said.

Recently, two days ago on Monday, the fraternity was found guilty for all criminal charges against it. Pi Delta Psi is considered an Asian American fraternity across the country. Usually, fraternities are rarely prosecuted after a hazing death of a student, so experts described the sentencing as “one of the most stringent punishments handed down in such a case.”

The fraternity plans on appealing, arguing that prosecutors had unfairly conflated the actions of individual members with those of the national fraternity. The four individual members the fraternity’s lawyer refers to are named Kenny Kwan, Charles Lai, Raymond Lam and Sheldon Wong. Prosecutors had described the rituals Mr. Deng had participated in as widely used by the fraternity, but Wieslaw Niemoczynski, the fraternity’s lawyer, said on Monday that the brutality of the hazing Mr. Deng faced was a “deviation and departure” from the usual ritual.

Pi Delta Psi was ordered to pay $112,500 in fines, and it was forbidden from operating in Pennsylvania as a condition of 10 years of probation imposed by the judge. The fraternity has two other chapters in Pennsylvania.

Five men and the fraternity were charged with third-degree murder, among other charges. The four members mentioned previously were expected to be sentenced later on Monday, however, they pleaded guilty in May to receive reduced charges of voluntary manslaughter. The fraternity was acquitted of the murder charge in November.

The significance of this particular sentence has made many heads turn. Usually, fraternities are never fully responsible for hazing deaths, however, this case shows that the justice system is moving towards a more radical front when facing students being killed due to the results of hazing.

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The student news site of John Jay High School
IVY League UPENN Fraternity Found Guilty After Hazing Manslaughter