BREAKING NEWS: SUNY ONEONTA STUDENT DEAD FOLLOWING COLD WEATHER EXPOSURE DURING UNKNOWN INCIDENT
A SUNY Oneonta student has died after being found on the street a distance away from campus.
Authorities are still investigating and have not yet released any information about the incident that took place on Thursday morning, January 27, 2022.
School officials say they are still investigating as well and have not formally responded to WIBX’s request for information, but have asked for patience as they work through their own processes. SUNY Oneonta President Alberto J.F. Cardelle has not yet released a statement. They say they are working diligently to provide information to the public.
Chief Christopher J. Witzenburg of the City of Oneonta Police Department has confirmed that a male was found overnight on Thursday morning, away from the main campus suffering from injuries related to exposure to the cold weather. The young man was brought to Bassett Hospital where authorities confirmed that he succumbed to his injuries.
Wednesday marked the first day of SUNY Oneonta’s spring semester. Chief Witzenburg says his department is working with SUNY Oneonta and several other agencies. They expect to have a press conference later today.
Multiple sources have told us that the incident was part of a fraternity hazing. According to those sources, the student was allegedly brought by members of a fraternity to a location approximately five miles away from SUNY Oneonta’s campus on Wednesday evening, January 26th. He was then left to walk back to the campus in freezing temperatures. It is unknown if the hazing involved the consumption of alcohol. It is important to note that police have not confirmed this information.
The student is believed to have fallen at some point and – according to two sources – suffered a fractured skull. Police say there are no initial signs of trauma and, when asked by WIBX, questioned whether the man suffered injuries from a fall and say there is no evidence at this time to support that.
Police say they are searching for answers and are asking anyone with information that may be helpful to their investigation to place a step forward and call them. Tips may be kept confidential as authorities work to learn exactly what happened. The Oneonta Police Department may be reached at (607) 432-1111.
Another former college student tells WIBX that this particular hazing ritual is not uncommon and described undergoing the same thing as part of his initiation into another fraternity in Oneonta. His experience, however, was not at SUNY.
This type of controversy is not, unfortunately, a new battleground for SUNY Oneonta. In 2017 Daniel William Michaels, an 18-year-old student was, according to the Associated Press, found unconscious on a couch in the off-campus home of a fraternity.
According to the school’s website, SUNY Oneonta has approximately 5,918 students, 37% of which are men.
This is a developing story and more information will be released as soon as it is available.
[AUTHORS’ NOTE: WIBX will not release the student’s name at this time out of respect to the family and pending notification of same.]
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