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IU students: West Virginia University tragedy was avoidable

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BLOOMINGTON,Ind. (Nov. 14, 2014) - An 18-year-old freshman at West Virginia University died Friday.

Police there announced Nolan Burch was found unconscious on the floor of a fraternity, for which he was allegedly a pledge.  As a result, administrators at WVU suspended all Greek life activities Friday.

Burch send his last tweet out Wednesday.  It read, “It’s about to be a very eventful night to say the least.”  Later that night, he was found unconscious, not breathing, without a pulse on the floor of a frat house.  Friday, the West Virginia University freshman was pronounced dead.

Colleges and universities around the country are consequently taking a closer look at their own policies.  Including one school that had to learn the hard way.

It was a tragedy in Bloomington just like the one in West Virginia that prompted a campus wide change and an attempt to end a college culture revolving around alcohol.

Rachael Fiege was 19 when she died in August of 2013.  She fell down stairs at an IU house party.  It took friends six hours to call 911 and by that time, it was too late.

“IU is definitely taking the lead on implementing new strategies to help us with maintaining alcohol, with controlling it,” said Joe Clifford, an IU undergrad and the Vice President of risk management for the school’s Inter Fraternity Council.

He said he’s seen his campus come a long way.

“They have our best interest in mind as far as keeping us safe and making sure that we come out of here in 4 years alive,” Clifford said.

“There’s always going to be a lens on how this university handles things,” said Ward Webber, a former Fraternity Chapter President and the school’s Inter Fraternity Council Vice President of Standards.

Webber said he’s well aware of how drinking too much can get out hand.  He’s had to use the state’s life line, or medical amnesty law, which encourages students to call 911 immediately, without fear of getting in trouble for drinking.

“Someone fell down the stairs after drinking, hit their head. So yeah called it, worked out fine,” said Webber.

An easy answer he said that could save lives like that of 18 year old Nolan Burch.

“Pledge educators need to be trained where they can handle a situation where if something like this does arise, that they need to call the police immediately,” said Webber.

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