A lot has unfolded in the days since Thomas “Lofton” Hazelwood, an 18-year-old University of Kentucky student and a member of FarmHouse Fraternity, died after being found unresponsive at the fraternity Monday night.
Here’s everything we know.
According to the UK Police Department, officers were called to the FarmHouse Fraternity at approximately 6:22 p.m. on Monday when Hazelwood was found unresponsive. Hazelwood died at UK Chandler Hospital at 7:06 p.m., according to the Fayette County coroner.
There were attempts to revive Hazelwood but they were unsuccessful, per university spokesman Jay Blanton.
What was the cause of death?
Hazelwood’s cause of death has not yet been officially determined, but the coroner said it was likely alcohol toxicity. The coroner ruled the death an accident and UK police do not suspect foul play was involved.
The coroner said the toxicology results from tests on Hazelwood should come back in four to six weeks, which is typical.
Who is Thomas Hazelwood?
Hazelwood was an 18-year-old agricultural economics major from Henderson. He resided in Lewis Hall, which is across the street from William T. Young Library.
Tracey Hazelwood, spoke with the Herald-Leader the day after losing her son. She said he was a good boy who never left his family without saying ‘I love you.”
“He was an old soul,” Tracey Hazelwood said. “Such a good boy. Loved his family and friends.”
Friends of Hazelwood and UK students gathered at the Holy Spirit Parish Newman Center Thursday night for a campuswide vigil and memorial service. Brendan O’Sullivan, a deacon at the Newman Center, said the services were “an opportunity for the community to come together and pray for people that are hurting right now, and going through a hard time with the loss. That’s really the goal, is to pray for Lofton, to pray for his family and pray for the community.”
Was hazing involved?
Whether or not hazing was involved in Hazelwood’s death has not been determined. Blanton said it was too early to draw conclusions about whether the death stemmed from hazing.
“But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t act to address issues when we see them and certainly this tragedy reinforces the obligation we all have to protect our students and provide them with the tools they need for awareness and understanding and to protect each other,” Blanton said.
Has FarmHouse Fraternity been penalized?
On Tuesday, UK announced it had suspended all activities for FarmHouse Fraternity. Concurrently, Christian Wiggins, CEO of FarmHouse Fraternity, said the international fraternity suspended the chapter’s activities.
In a statement Tuesday, Wiggins asked members of UK’s chapter to cooperate with the investigation while offering his condolences.
“We are saddened to share the passing of a University of Kentucky new member of FarmHouse Fraternity. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, chapter members and the entire community,” Wiggins said in a statement to the Herald-Leader. “We have encouraged all members to cooperate with the investigation,” Wiggins said. “We will provide additional information as it becomes available.”
How were other UK fraternities affected?
Not long after suspending activities at FarmHouse Fraternity, UK suspended all pledge or new member activities for all fraternities on campus indefinitely.
All fraternity members will also undergo additional training on bystander intervention and take an additional course around hazing prevention and university expectations, university officials said.
“These are initial steps. We will continue to evaluate our training programs and Code of Student Conduct to ensure that our training requirements are as robust and effective as possible,” said Vice President for Student Success Kristen Turner in an email sent out to UK students. “We hope you will help us communicate the importance of these measures, as I know we all want the same thing — a campus that is safe, friends and fellow students who are protected and a learning and living environment that is rich and rewarding.”
UK police and the university’s Office of Student Conduct are investigating the events surrounding Hazelwood’s death.
Were students cited for alcohol at Farmhouse?
On Monday UK police found alcohol at FarmHouse Fraternity and filed a liquor law violation report, officials said.
The incident caused officials to make a campus security report in the police department crime log that says, “Person aged 18-20 in possession of alcohol (20 counts); alcohol intoxication.” Here’s what happened at the fraternity house to warrant the liquor law violation, according to Blanton.
“When the University of Kentucky responded to the call about an unresponsive student, police entered a room where multiple people had been in and out of the room and would have had access to alcohol that was found there,” he said. “That doesn’t mean 20 people were there at the same time. It simply means that UKPD knows that 20 people had been in and out of the room from initial interviews and would have had access to alcohol. There are no citations because UKPD didn’t witness anyone drinking,” said Blanton.
For those 21 and older, using and serving alcohol on campus are not allowed without permission from UK.