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.
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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