Four men pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter on May 15 for the hazing death of Baruch student Chun Hsien “Michael” Deng in 2013.
Deng and the four men, Kenny Kwan, Charles Lai, Raymond Lam and Sheldon Wong, were a part of Pi Delta Psi, an Asian-American fraternity.
On a fraternity trip to the Poconos, Deng fell unconscious during hazing ritual called “the glass ceiling” that involved Deng being strapped to a backpack filled with sand and other members tackling him as he crossed that yard. The members of the fraternity delayed getting medical help and Deng died from the injuries he sustained the next morning.
John Chen* is a Baruch student who was a transfer student at the time of the incident. To make new friends and new connections in Baruch, Chen tried to be involved in clubs and the Greek organizations, one of which was Pi Delta Psi, available at the commuter school.
“My girlfriend at the time was in a sorority so she [piqued] my interest in joining an organization, but unfortunately I didn't get a bid from anything my first semester in,” he said.
Chen spoke about his reaction towards the incident and towards the guilty plead of the four men.
“After reading the news, I think they should have definitely went to the hospital because no matter what organization they are a part of, it is a life that needs to be helped, so those charges, at the end of the day, they do deserve it," Chen said. "Someone has to pay for it. If anything, someone lost a son, a friend and those things [hazing] should definitely be reprimanded."
A senior student at Baruch, Susan*, was a freshman at the time of the incident. Though she wasn’t too involved in club life during her first year, she was shocked by the news when it first happened.
“It was shocking to know that something like this could happen to a fellow student at Baruch, but I wasn't too involved in club life at the time so it didn't impact me too much because I was watching from afar in a way."
Though she is glad that the people involved are getting the punishment they deserved, she does feel sympathetic towards the four men as this case signed away the rest of their lives.
“It’s been a really dragged on case, so it’s good to see that it’s finally being resolved but it’s sad to see how these people who were involved in Greek life just for fun, their whole lives are ruined by this incident,” she said.
Abesh Khan* is a senior who was also a freshman at the time of the incident. He was initially taken aback by the news to the death.
“I was more than shocked,” he said. “I was surprised by the incident but from my experience in clubs, meeting all the club members and especially the club leaders, I did not feel that people at Baruch were threatening or not friendly or were bullies, so hearing about this type of incident that was not only bullying, but also leading someone to death, it did not feel like Baruch.”
As a former club leader in one of the many clubs in Baruch, Abesh said that he doesn’t think those involved in the death represent Baruch and Baruch students.
“Maybe they were kiddish, and didn’t think that one mistake would cost them the rest of their lives,” Khan said, “but they killed one person, murdered one person and they have to pay the consequences for their actions to teach other students not to do it again.”
*Editor's Note: Names have been changed as Greek life is not allowed to openly speak about this to the press.
Lead Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons