Student’s death ruled accidental fall

University president Dennis Cochrane answers questions about the university report on hazing at St. Thomas University. (Alex Solak/AQ)
University president Dennis Cochrane answers questions about the university report on hazing at St. Thomas University. (Alex Solak/AQ)

St. Thomas University administrators say Andrew Bartlett and other volleyball rookies were hazed at a team party, but hazing did not contribute to the death of the 21-year-old student.

Andrew Bartlett was a 4th year student at St. Thomas University (Submitted)

Police confirmed on Wednesday afternoon that Andrew Bartlett died on Oct. 24 after an accidental fall. Alcohol consumption was a contributing factor. Police also ruled out hazing as a cause.

STU president Dennis Cochrane held a news conference later on Wednesday.

“There was an event that took place on campus and off campus that would meet the definition of hazing,” said Cochrane. “First-year players were identified and treated a little differently than the veteran players on the team.  As a result, that fits the definition of what hazing would be and that’s a concern to us.”

Cochrane said there will be “consequences.” When asked if members of the volleyball team could be expelled, he said the university is considering a “menu” of disciplinary actions.

Police spokesman Const. Rick Mooney said out of respect for the family the department isn’t releasing any details of the circumstances surrounding Bartlett’s death.

Mooney said Bartlett’s fall took place in the stairwell of his Montgomery street apartment building.

“There was nothing suspicious regarding the death and no criminal activity was involved,” said Mooney.

Police refused to confirm what Bartlett’s blood-alcohol level was at the time of death, or any other details of what happened to him that night.

The St. Thomas University community was shocked by the sudden death of Bartlett six weeks ago. A New Brunswick Beacon story alleged that Bartlett was at an initiation party for the volleyball team. The story alleged heavy drinking and “hazing” took place at the party that started at Harrington Hall.

Police were waiting for an autopsy report and a toxicology report to complete their investigation.
The university has also been investigating the incident. Larry Batt, dean of students and Mike Eagles, director of athletics, have been conducting an investigation and reviewing policies on initiation parties and hazing.

The administration will be releasing more information and reviewing possible disciplinary actions on Thursday.

“There was certainly drinking going on and one of the concerns we have, for all kinds of campus activities, is the amount of alcohol consumed,” said Cochrane. “There was a time to grieve, there was a time to reflect, there’s now a time to research and there will be, very quickly, a time to make a decision.”

Bartlett was an English major planning to graduate in May. It was his first year playing for the STU Tommies volleyball team. The St. Andrews native was a loyal friend and a responsible drinker, said Derek Montague, a friend who spoke at Bartlett’s funeral.

“It may be impossible to predict the future, but I can say with certainty that Andrew had a bright future ahead of him.”

With files from Tara Chislett

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  • Show Comments (1)

  • Frank Jr Molley

    This incident, although highly personal and emotional for many, should have it's details released to the public. From the toxicology report, blood alcohol level at the time of death and including other details that happened to Bartlett that evening. I can understand and respect the sensitivity of this matter on all fronts, but wouldn't you agree that this may be in the public's interest? Personally speaking if my son or daughter died at a university I would certainly want answers across the board, even going as far as issuing a Coroner's Inquest. The circumstances involved should be made available to the Canadian public, after all it would be in the greater public interest to examine fully the parameters that contributed to this occurrence. I disagree on the timing by the authorities in their refusal to confirm such factors. This issue at hand is how, why and what contributed and therefore these facts may be used to prevent this from ever happening to another student at any University in Canada. So far this is not the case with what I see here.

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