WVU student dies after frat house incident; Investigation continues

“Words cannot describe the heartache we, as a West Virginia University family, feel at the loss of one of our own – Nolan Michael Burch – who passed away today,” said WVU President E. Gordon Gee. "The outpouring of love and support from his friends and this community has been what you would expect from Mountaineers, and I would ask that you continue to keep the Burch family and many friends in your thoughts and prayers.”

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University and Morgantown Police continue to investigate what occurred around midnight Wednesday when 911 responders were called to an off-campus fraternity house where a catastrophic medical emergency was in progress.

Burch, 18, of Williamsville, N.Y., was a freshman majoring in pre-sport management.

The university has since  suspended all activities involving fraternities and sororities. 

Police said the 18-year-old was found on a floor without a pulse.  When an officer arrived, he saw someone performing CPR on Burch, police said.  The officer performed CPR until EMS arrived.

Burch was taken to Ruby Memorial Hospital, where he later died. 

“He's an amazing person, and he’s in our thoughts and prayers,” said Zack Feckso, the fraternity’s former president.

Kappa Sigma members told WPXI’s Pamela Osborne that their charter was revoked and a party held Wednesday night wasn’t a fraternity-sponsored event.

Detectives from the Morgantown Police Department have been working with WVU police to identify and interview pledge and fraternity members who may have been with the victim prior to his medical condition being reported to 911.

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Original Story: West Virginia University suspended all activities involving fraternities and sororities Thursday after “a catastrophic medical emergency” at a fraternity house. (Source: WPXI

Police said the emergency happened at the Kappa Sigma fraternity house early Thursday morning and a student was taken to the intensive care unit of Ruby Memorial Hospital.  

The hospitalized student was identified as 18-year-old Nolan Michael Burch from Buffalo, New York. Burch was found on a floor without a pulse, and police said they found someone giving him CPR at the scene when they arrived. An “officer continued CPR until EMS arrived,” police said.

Detectives of the Morgantown Police Department  have been working with WVU police to identify and interview pledge and fraternity  members of the Kappa Sigma fraternity who may have been with the victim prior to his medical condition being reported to 911.

Just last week, three WVU students were arrested for alleged public intoxication and underage drinking and 16 others were issued criminal citations after a loud party involving the Sigma Chi Fraternity. 

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After this week’s incident, WVU released a statement:

“Following emergency meetings (Thursday) among West Virginia University officials, the Inter-Fraternity Council and Panhellenic Council, all campus fraternities and sororities have been placed on a moratorium that suspends all chapter social and pledging activities until further notice.

“The action comes on the heels of two recent incidents, the latest occurring today (Nov. 13) where a catastrophic medical emergency required a 911 response to a fraternity house. The other on Nov. 6 was a disturbance in South Park involving members of another fraternity. Both incidents are under investigation by both Morgantown and University Police.”

Dean of Students Corey Farris, Inter-Fraternity Council President Ansh Kumar and Panhellenic Council President Rachel Poe expressed concern for the hospitalized student in a joint statement.

"First, our hearts, prayers and support go out to the student who is gravely ill and his family. Right now that is our utmost concern,” they said. 

"The action to halt fraternity and sorority activities while these matters are being reviewed is being done with the well-being and safety of our students in mind,” Farris said. “That is - and must always be - our foremost priority.” 

In addition to any criminal charges, WVU's Office of Student Conduct will review the matters to determine possible violations of the student code.

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