Four members of the Pi Delta Psi fraternity, Kenny Kwan (28) Charles Lai (26) Raymond Lam (23) and Sheldon Wong (24) pleaded guilty on Monday to reduced charges of voluntary manslaughter as accomplices and hindering apprehension for concealing evidence for the 2013 death of Chun “Michael” Deng (18). The death occurred as a result of injuries sustained during a fraternity ritual hazing on a group trip to the Poconos in Pennsylvania.
The dangerous and secretive nature of hazing rituals that some fraternities participate in has been a controversial subject for many years on college campuses across the country. Many fraternities and sororities use hazing as a right of passage, a bonding technique that will connect the members for life. Nevertheless, some hazing goes too far and has therefore been banned from most universities. Any hazing that requires excessive and dangerous alcohol use or physical abuse, could end in serious bodily injury and sometimes death. Recently the topic has grabbed headlines on blogs and cable news due to some high profile deaths as a result of hazing. Likewise, in 2013 an 18-year-old Freshman at Baruch College, Chun “Michael” Deng became a victim of extreme hazing. This week (Monday 15th), the Deng family received a little bit of comfort when four of the members of Pi Delta Psi fraternity who were responsible for the young man’s death pleaded guilty in a court of law.
In 2013, the fraternity members were participating in a ceremony called “glass ceiling” with its new pledges. The pledges were carrying a backpack containing 30 pounds of sand and were blindfolded. A fraternity member would call the pledge’s name and the pledge would be instructed to walk towards that individual calling his name. However, when he attempted to walk other fraternity brothers physically prevented that from happening by punching the pledge as he walked over the frozen yard. When they attempted to do this with Deng, he fell backward striking his head and became unresponsive.