FarmHouse fraternity activities suspended. Student died of apparent alcohol pisoning.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto and UK Vice President for Student Success Kirsten Turner sent a message to the UK campus community Tuesday evening, saying a second investigation has been opened into the death Monday evening of an 18-year-old freshman from apparent alcohol poisoning.
Meanwhile, UK police say alcohol was not found in the FarmHouse Fraternity room where Thomas “Lofton” Hazelwood, of Henderson, was found, raising questions about where the freshman had been before he ended up at the fraternity. Hazelwood lived at Lewis Hall, the university said. All activities at the fraternity have been suspended, according to the university.
The fraternity does not allow alcohol, according to policies on its web page and the university has students go through alcohol awareness and drinking programs at the start of each school year.
Below is the message university leaders sent:
Last night, our community suffered a tragic loss with the death of our student, Thomas “Lofton” Hazelwood.
Lofton, as he was known, was 18 years old and from Henderson, Ky. He was an agricultural economics major. He lived in Lewis Hall and was a new member of his fraternity. He was involved in campus activities and, we know, loved by his family.
In other words, he had all the promise of youth and the potential that comes with it.
We have been in communication with his family and many of the students who knew and loved him.
There aren’t words adequate to convey what so many on our campus feel, the sense of loss and grief, sadness and emptiness. There just isn’t. Words can’t fill that void, nor will we try.
However, what we can convey, and what we can do, is reach out with the support members of our community need during this time and in all the days ahead. That includes Lofton’s family as they are members of our family – not simply today or tomorrow, but always.
We also can – and we will – commit to finding out what happened, how it happened and why. We have conveyed to Lofton’s family that we will move as quickly as possible, but also transparently and comprehensively. We won’t speculate or engage in conjecture, but we will find out.
To that end, here’s what we know thus far and how we are moving forward to understand more fully this tragedy.
First, two investigations have been launched by the university. UK Police already has begun its investigation and is in the process of interviewing people. UK’s Office of Student Conduct also has begun a review. If you know something or have information about what happened, please call UK Police at (859) 323-8477 (TIPS).
Second, when complete, both of these investigations will be made public including any findings and recommendations, subject to necessary redactions to protect the privacy of students. But we will understand better what happened and we will communicate with Lofton’s family and our university family.
Third, as of today, the University has suspended all activities for the FarmHouse Fraternity while these investigations are ongoing. The focus of the chapter – and of university officials involved in this review – needs to remain fixed on understanding what happened and finding answers.
Fourth, as has been communicated to a number of groups throughout last evening and today, we are reaching out with the appropriate levels of support – counseling and other services – for those students and groups who are impacted by this horrible event.
More information about our counseling center’s services can be found at https://www.uky.edu/counselingcenter/.
- You can also reach the counseling center at 24/7 at (859) 257-8701. If you are calling the counseling center after hours, press 1 from the menu of options to be connected to a clinician.
- Additionally, the counseling center hosts a regular series of drop-in sessions at locations around campus as part of the “Let’s Talk” series. Information on this series can be found at the counseling center’s website.
- Remember that if you are concerned about any member of the UK community, you can submit a report to the Center for Support and Intervention here: https://cm.maxient.com/reportingform.php?UnivofKentucky&layout_id=100.
What happened is unspeakably tragic, but that should never stop us from reaching out to each other to talk, to listen and to offer support. We all need help at times, never more so than when those things that are seemingly unimaginable actually happen.
Life is fragile and precious. Too often, we realize that far too late. So, while we cannot heal such a loss or fill the emptiness that we know so many feel right now, we can be there for each other a little more tomorrow than we are today, and we can commit to finding answers.
That is the project, as a community, that we will undertake together.
Eli Capilouto Kirsten Turner
President Vice President for Student Success
UPDATE POSTED AT 1:20 P.M. TUESDAY, OCT. 19, 2020
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – The 18-year-old student who died at a University of Kentucky fraternity Monday evening apparently died from alcohol poisoning, according to Fayette County Coroner Gary Ginn.
The Farmhouse Fraternity member was identified as Thomas ‘Lofton’ Hazelwood, of Henderson, Ky., Ginn said.
He was pronounced dead at 7:06 p.m. at the University of Kentucky Medical Center from “presumed alcohol toxicity,” Ginn noted, pending investigation and toxicology reports which can take several weeks.
The manner of death is listed as “accident,” according to Ginn’s initial statement.
UK Police are handling the investigation and said officers have no indication of a party or large gathering at the fraternity house at the time and that another fraternity brother called 911. The department said early Tuesday morning foul play is not suspected.
UK officials are offering support services to members of the fraternity as well as his family and classmates.
Lofton was a first-year student majoring in agricultural economics and was a member of FarmHouse Fraternity.
“The thoughts of the entire UK community are with his family and all those who knew him,” the university said in a statement.
Each year, UK students are required to take educational programs and videos about the dangers of binge drinking at alcohol. In addition, the FarmHouse fraternity admonishes its members against the dangers of alcohol and excessive drinking. The fraternity also bans alcohol, according to its web site and policies. Alcohol is not to be used in the recruitment or induction of new members, the policies state.
Those policies and awareness program state:
What is ‘Risk’ and what is ‘Risk Management’? Simply put, risks are any actions that have the potential to
result in negative consequences for others or ourselves. Therefore ‘Risk Management’ is the decision-making
process that we undertake to mitigate the level of risk in our activities and programs. From a FarmHouse
Fraternity perspective, risk is always present. It is easy to think first of alcohol issues when the notion of risk
management in chapters is raised, but risk exists in far more areas than just chapter social events. Further, risk
doesn’t just mean breaking the law or a university or international fraternity policy. Getting a poor chapter
GPA is a risk that could result in social probation or other punishments. Not having a designated chapter
spokesperson in a crisis is a risk that may result in members making inappropriate statements to the media.
There are big risks and there are little risks.
Think of all aspects of chapter life that involve potential risks. Some examples might be: new…