In this Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012 file photo shows the University at Buffalo campus in Buffalo, N.Y. Sebastian Serafin-Bazan, a University at Buffalo student, died Wednesday, April 17, 2019, from a suspected hazing incident last week. The 18-year-old freshman from Port Chester, N.Y., was hospitalized early Friday morning after the incident at an off-campus house. (AP Photo/David Duprey, File)

University freshman dead after suspected fraternity hazing

April 17, 2019 - 4:36 pm

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — A university student in upstate New York died Wednesday following suspected hazing that has led to an indefinite suspension of fraternity and sorority activities.

University at Buffalo freshman Sebastian Serafin-Bazan, 18, had been hospitalized since early Friday after the suspected hazing at an off-campus house.

"Our hearts go out to Sebastian's family for the devastating heartbreak they are experiencing. We extend our sincerest condolences to the Serafin-Bazan family and to all of Sebastian's friends here at UB and in his hometown of Port Chester, New York," university President Satish Tripathi said in a written statement the school said would be its only comment Wednesday.

Details of the case involving the Sigma Pi fraternity have not been released. Buffalo Police Capt. Jeff Rinaldo said police are investigating whether drugs or alcohol were involved and are awaiting autopsy results.

A telephone call to the Serafin-Bazan home in Port Chester went unanswered.

Neighbors told local media outlets that they saw a person who appeared to be unconscious being carried out to the front lawn of the house around 12:30 a.m. Friday before police arrived.

University officials have said an internal review is underway.

Neither Sigma Pi's Buffalo chapter nor its national headquarters in Lebanon, Tennessee, responded to telephone and email messages Wednesday. The fraternity has 120 chapters in the United States and Canada. The Buffalo chapter has about 20 members, UB said.

In a tweet, the national chapter said it has offered its support to Buffalo police and the university in the investigation.

"We will be initiating an internal investigation and review once the police have concluded their fact-finding," the tweet said.

After reporting April 12 that Serafin-Bazan had been hospitalized "with a serious medical condition as the result of a possible hazing incident," Tripathi indefinitely suspended the activities of UB's 35 fraternities and sororities. The organizations, he said, would be counseled about the university's zero-tolerance policy on hazing.

"As we grieve Sebastian's passing today and well beyond, it is my hope that each of us pauses to remind ourselves that we can only uphold our humanity by treating each other with dignity, compassion and kindness," Tripathi's statement said.

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