'Eventful night' leads to student death and suspension of fraternities, sororities at West Virginia University

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'Eventful night' leads to student death and suspension of fraternities, sororities at West Virginia University
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Woodburn Hall, on the campus of WVU. (Flickr)
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MORGANTOWN, WV - SEPTEMBER 24: A general view of Mountaineer Field is seen during first half play between the West Virginia Mountaineers and the Louisiana State University Tigers during the game on September 24, 2011 at Mountaineer Field in Morgantown, West Virginia. (Getty Images)
Burch's senior yearbook photo from high school. (Facebook)
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By RYAN GORMAN

West Virginia University has suspended all fraternities and sororities from campus after a freshman student died this week.

Nolan Burch, from Williamsville, New York, was found Wednesday outside the Kappa Sigma house just before midnight, according to reports. He was unable to breath and without a pulse but somehow clung to life until Friday, when he died at a nearby hospital.

Burch boasted on Twitter only hours before he was found that Wednesday night was going to be "eventful."
By the time paramedics arrived, a bystander was performing CPR on Burch, according to NBC News. The teen had no traumatic injuries.

"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," WVU President E. Gordon Gee said in a statement.

Officials are still trying to determine if drugs or alcohol were involved in his death. Fraternity members have strongly suggested alcohol was to blame, WTAE reported.

WVU has been named the number one party school in the country by multiple publications and websites for several years in a row.

"We are distraught and saddened by the news about West Virginia University student Nolan Burch," the fraternity said in a separate statement, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Kappa Sigma told the paper the WVU chapter had been suspended since the middle of last month for code of conduct violations. Its charter was withdrawn Monday.

"While we investigate, the Fraternity is focused on working with the university to ensure that the proper support and counseling is available to the individual members of our former chapter's" the Kappa Sigma statement continued.

WVU announced Thursday the suspension of all Greek organizations from its nearly 30,000-student Morgantown campus, citing a "catastrophic medical emergency," according to the paper.

"Any pledging and new member activity is suspended indefinitely. Certainly through the end of the semester and then (at) the beginning of next semester we'll see where we'll go," Corey Farris, dean of students, told the student newspaper The Athenaeum. "Right now it's time for a pause to take a look at things quite honestly.

"We decided to sort of have a stand down or take a step back and take a look at where the fraternities and sororities have been recently and where they're going in the future," Farris continued. "The moratorium is in place that they basically suspend most of their activities."

Previously scheduled chapter meetings and philanthropic events will be allowed to continue as planned.

The incident came after 19 intoxicated pledges to the Sigma Chi fraternity were arrested after a massive booze-fueled street fight on campus.

The pledges then lied to police about which fraternity they belonged to and face potential obstruction of justice charges, in addition to assault and underage alcohol counts.

Sigma Chi was subsequently banned from campus pending an investigation.

"Personally, I'm deeply saddened," student Matt Carter, a member of another fraternity, Alpha Sigma Phi, told the paper "I wasn't aware of the actions that happened there that night. I was shocked."

The investigations into both the massive brawl and Burch's death remain ongoing.

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