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U of M fraternity house death under investigation in St. Paul

September 12, 2018

Police are investigating the death of a student found Wednesday morning in a University of Minnesota fraternity house near the St. Paul campus.

Police spokesman Steve Linders said authorities do not believe any foul play was involved, nor do they believe it was caused by hazing or initiation practices. But alcohol could be a factor pending autopsy results, he added.

The 20-year-old man’s identity has not been released.

University of Minnesota Vice Provost for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Maggie Towle confirmed that the man was a student, but shared no other details.

“We are saddened to learn of the death of one of our students,” she said in a written statement. “The Saint Paul Police Department is leading the investigation of this death. They will handle any related questions.”

According to Linders: Police were called about 5 a.m. to the Alpha Gamma Rho frathouse in the 2000 block of Carter Avenue. Police found the man dead in the home. Linders said he was unsure where in the home the man was found.

A resident of the house called police after finding the man, whom was last seen alive by residents about 1 a.m. Linders said it’s unclear whether the man lived in the house. About 10 residents of the house were questioned at police headquarters and are cooperating, Linders said.

Homicide detectives are investigating the case because the man was “seemingly healthy” before being found dead, he said.

The fraternity did not return an e-mail message seeking comment. The group describes itself on a U Greek website as “the premier social and professional food, agricultural and natural resource sciences fraternity” at the University.

“We pride ourselves in being the highest quality fraternity through our excellence in academics, athletics, and making better men,” the website said. “Get the best of both campuses and live in a $2.5 million brand new house!”

The fraternity reported a membership of 48.

The U’s Interfraternity Council (IFC), the governing body for 30 fraternities with more than 1,500 men, including Alpha Gamma Rho, did not immediately return messages seeking comment.

Several hours after the man’s body was found, the IFC’s Facebook page shared a post that said: “Today is #myFraternity Social Media Day! Share your story of fraternity experience with over 4 million other brothers by using #myFaternity.”

Fall “rush,” or, recruitment for U fraternities, was last week, ending with hopefuls making personal visits to Greek organizations of their liking, and fraternities extending membership invitations as early as Thursday, according to the IFC’s website.

The university urged anyone needing support and counseling to contact Boynton Health or Student Counseling Services for assistance.

Chao Xiong • 612-270-4708 Twitter: @ChaoStrib

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