N.B. student's death prompts hazing probe
Andrew Bartlett was new member of St. Thomas University volleyball team
The body of 21-year-old Andrew Bartlett of St. Andrews, a fourth-year liberal arts student, was found in his apartment building the morning of Oct. 24. Fredericton police said Bartlett was dead when they arrived at about 5 a.m.
Police are waiting for the results of an autopsy and have not released a cause of death.
A report on a university news website, the New Brunswick Beacon, claims the rookie member of the volleyball team was at a party the night before where new players were hazed by veterans. Hazing is against the rules at St. Thomas.
"It was a volleyball gathering, a party of sorts, and something happened in the hallway where people were put through a gauntlet," said Nathen Swain, the fourth-year journalism student who wrote the article.
Swain was also at the party at Harrington Hall, a university residence. He said he could hear whistling and laughing in the hallway during the party, and said rookie members of the volleyball team were blindfolded and left the building, where the party continued off campus.
Bartlett was later taken to his apartment by a team member, Swain said.
Dennis Cochrane, the university president, has appointed Larry Batt, the registrar and dean of students, and Mike Eagles, the university's athletic director, to determine if the allegations are true.
"We're going to get to the bottom of what allegedly happened," Cochrane said Tuesday.
"If we do find that there's a major infraction of St. Thomas University's policy with regard to this, then obviously the administration will respond."
The allegations are severe enough that Cochrane said the school has an obligation to investigate. He said he expects a report on the matter in two to three weeks, which is how long Fredericton police are expected to take for their investigation into Bartlett's death .
Cochrane said the school has a strict policy against any form of hazing, and should there be any truth to the reports, action will be taken.
"The team could be suspended," he said. "Players could be suspended. There could be academic probation. Students could be suspended from the university."
Swain said the students want answers, particularly about whether the events of that night contributed to Bartlett's death.
"What if it happens to someone else?" he said. "We, as a group of students here at the university, have to be able to stand up against these type of things that do happen here."