Early Friday morning, Sebastian Serafin-Bazan, 18, a student from Port Chester, New York, was transported to Buffalo General Hospital after going into cardiac arrest at the Sigma Pi fraternity house near the university. As of Sunday afternoon, he remained at the hospital in critical condition, according to the school.
After the police opened an investigation, university President Satish Tripathi announced the suspension and a full review of the school’s Greek system.
“Over the next several days, the university will perform an internal review into the activities of U.B. fraternities and sororities and will strongly counsel all Greek organizations about U.B.’s zero-tolerance policy on hazing and the very serious consequences of hazing,” Tripathi said in a statement Friday.
The exact details of the episode remain unclear, but according to The Buffalo News, Serafin-Bazan was recovering from a respiratory ailment when he was “ordered” to do strenuous physical exercise. After hitting his head on a coffee table, fraternity brothers carried Serafin-Bazan outside to get some “fresh air,” a student told The News. Serafin-Bazan, who is studying medical technology, did not have alcohol or drugs in his system, according to preliminary toxicology tests, The News reported.
About 1,000 of the university’s 19,000 undergraduate students participate in Greek life, a university spokesman said. University at Buffalo is the largest university in the State University of New York system.
The episode comes amid continuing criticism of fraternities, where some say binge drinking, sexual assault and hazing run rampant.
In February, three female students at Yale University who said they were groped at fraternity parties filed a class-action lawsuit against the school, saying Yale fostered a culture that enabled harassment.
In 2017, Timothy Piazza, then a freshman at Penn State University, died while pledging Beta Theta Pi. During a hazing ritual, Piazza was ordered to drink large amounts of alcohol and fell multiple times, injuring his brain and rupturing his spleen.
In 2016, police investigated whether hazing played a role in the death of Buffalo State College student Bradley Doyley, 21, from Brooklyn. In 2013, Chun Hsien Deng, 18, a student at Baruch College, died during a fraternity initiation event. Multiple men pleaded guilty in connection with his death.
The national Sigma Pi Fraternity has now been involved in three such incidents in the past six months.
The most recent news release on Sigma Pi’s website expressed condolences after a new member of its chapter at Ohio University died in November after an alleged hazing incident. (The fraternity is being sued in connection with the student’s death. The fraternity has denied any wrongdoing.)
A news release from just two weeks before that stated the national organization had suspended its chapter at the University of Colorado Boulder for allegations of health and safety violations after several women claimed they had been drugged at a party at the fraternity’s house near campus.
And now, the fraternity is investigating the incident involving Serafin-Bazan.
“Sigma Pi has recently learned of a reported allegation of health and safety policy violations at Epsilon-Omicron Chapter at the University at Buffalo,” Jonathan Frost, executive director of the Sigma Pi Fraternity, said in a statement to USA Today. “At this time, we are currently gathering information and, if necessary, will provide further comment after all facts have been gathered.”
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.