Breaking: BU completely terminates Greek life system after student death

*Editor Update: Several developments have occurred since this story was originally published. On Thursday afternoon May 13, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported the Montour County Coroner noted, “nothing nefarious was involved. We are looking at a potential undiagnosed medical condition which requires further testing.” Later that day, Bloomsburg Police noted in a press release that they “did not find any evidence of a fall.” Arrangements for Bloomsburg University student Leah Burke who died on May 8 are now complete (see details here, as well as her obituary).

After a history of misconduct and two student deaths with some apparent connections to Greek life, Bloomsburg University announced they are severing ties with the entire system.

The notice reads: “Effective immediately, Bloomsburg University is terminating its fraternity and sorority life (FSL) program and severing ties with all national and local FSL organizations currently affiliated with the University. All students are reminded that their conduct remains subject to all applicable University policies, including: PRP 4802 – Student Code of Conduct and Judicial Process.”

Most recently on Saturday, May 8, sophomore nursing student Leah Burke died after an incident on the outdoor stairs at the Pi Lambda Phi fraternity house at 373 East Third St., Bloomsburg, according to students familiar with the situation.

Pi Lambda Phi fraternity house in Bloomsburg, Pa. The steps on the left of the back of the house is where Leah Burke is reported to have been present before her death. Credit: BUnow

Burke’s death is under investigation.

Her untimely passing is the second death with an apparent connection to Greek organizations at BU over a span of 20 months.

In September 2019, freshman Justin King was found dead at the bottom of the Rail Trail in Bloomsburg the morning after it is alleged he spent a night of partying with the Alpha Sigma Tau sorority and Kappa Sigma fraternity.

A wrongful death lawsuit was filed on behalf of King’s mother by Kline & Specter, P.C. in Philadelphia.

The suit claims Kappa Sigma recruited King as an illegal pledge and hazed him, leading to his death.

Bloomsburg University is not a defendant. Thirty-six current and former students are named in the suit.

Tom McGuire, Director of Media Relations at BU, told BUnow, “This is a University administrative decision. We’ll share more information as appropriate.”

This is a developing news story. BUnow will follow up with more information as it becomes available.