Texas A&M Hazing
Second Fraternity Member Found Dead at Texas A&M University
Cause of Death Not Yet Determined Nor Immediately Linked to Fraternity Hazing
A second death occurred at a Texas A&M fraternity house in four months. A 20-year old student was found unresponsive at the Sigma Phi Epsilon, commonly referred to as Sig Ep, fraternity house during the evening of December 16, 2016. Investigators have not yet announced the cause of death. The investigation is ongoing, and involves university officials as well as law enforcement in College Station.
The national Sig Ep organization issued a statement expressing its sympathies over the death of one its members at Texas A&M. The national organization also stated that it would cooperate fully with law enforcement officials and others investigating the untimely death of the fraternity member.
Bright, Well-Liked Student
Matthew Hayes was described by his fraternity brothers, and others, as a bright and well-liked student. He was a sophomore engineering student.
Fellow fraternity members found Hayes unresponsive in his bedroom at about 5:45 in the evening. The last they had seen him was when he returned to the fraternity house after a party, arriving at about midnight. His fellow Sig Ep brothers believed that he had been sleeping through the day.
No immediate cause of death was indicated. An autopsy was scheduled.
The Sig Ep house is a 21-person facility, with separate bedrooms for each of the student members. Sig Ep has been part of the Texas A&M community since 1973.
Second Fraternity Death at Texas A&M
The death of Hayes follows that of Anton Gridnev in August. Gridnev, 19, was a member of the Sigma Nu fraternity. He died after celebrating his birthday.
An autopsy following Gridnev's death revealed that he had died of drug overdose. In the aftermath of his death, nine members of the Sigma Nu fraternity house were arrested on drug-related charges. The Sigma Nu charter has been suspended by the national fraternity organization.
Hazing Deaths at Colleges and Universities
Neither of the two deaths at Texas A&M have yet been connected with hazing. Nonetheless, these incidents do illustrate the risks associated with life in a fraternity house, and on college and university campuses more generally, in this day and age.
Every year, at colleges and universities across Texas, fraternity hazing results in young people sustained injuries. Sorority hazing also occurs, but to a lesser extent than what is experienced in the fraternity system. In some cases, the injuries sustained because of fraternity hazing proves to be serious. Indeed, a sad reality is that time and again a young man ends up losing his life through hazing.
Legal Recourse for Parents of a Hazing or Other University Wrongful Death
Parents of a student killed in a hazing incident, or of a student who dies due to the negligence of a third party, is now without recourse. Legal recourse for a parent who has lost a child extends beyond what might or might not occur in the criminal justice system. Parents who have lost their child in a fraternity hazing, or similar type of incident, have the ability to pursue what is known as a wrongful death claim or a wrongful death lawsuit.
Grieving parents may be entitled to different types of compensation, depending on the facts and circumstances of a particular case. Compensation can include financial recovery for:
- medical expenses
- funeral and burial costs
- emotional distress and mental anguish
- lost love and affection
The particular circumstances of a case may warrant additional compensation in the form of punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded when the conduct of the party or parties responsible for the death of a student was particularly reckless. Punitive damages are awarded, in part, to punish a third party or parties for that particularly egregious conduct.
Responsible Parties in a Fraternity Hazing Case
In a fraternity hazing case, or another type of situation in which a fraternity or sorority member ends up dead or injured, a number of parties may be legally responsible. These may include:
- local fraternity
- national fraternity
- fellow fraternity brothers
- college or university
Fraternity Hazing Lawyer
The parents of a student killed in a hazing incident, or who has died because of someone else's negligence, can seek professional assistance from a fraternity hazing lawyer at The Doan Law Firm. An initial consultation with a fraternity hazing lawyer from our firm can be scheduled by calling (979) 803-0000. Our phone line is staffed around the clock, 365 days a year, including all major holidays.
An initial consultation can be scheduled at any time that is convenient to you. We can schedule a meeting with a fraternity hazing attorney at our office, or at another location that is convenient for you.
During an initial consultation, fraternity hazing lawyer from our firm will provide an evaluation of your case. In addition, an attorney from our firm will answer any questions that you may have. There is no charge for an initial consultation with a fraternity hazing attorney from The Doan Law Firm.
Our firm uses a contingency fee arrangement when it comes to wrongful death and personal injury cases. This includes claims arising from fraternity hazing or other acts or negligence or recklessness associated or somehow connected with life as a college or university student. What this means is that our firm does not charge a fee unless and until we obtain a settlement or judgment in your favor.
Our legal team has worked close with families who have lost college student loved ones. We have also worked with young adults that have been injured in hazing, and other incidents, associated with their college or university experience.