NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J., FEB. 14 -- Rutgers University said today it has banned all fraternity social events following the death of a freshman pledge reportedly given a vomit bag and told to "drink until you were sick."
James Callahan, 18, died Friday of apparent alcohol poisoning after he and 13 other students trying to join the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity were given between 200 and 300 drinks during an all-night party, university officials said.
The pledges were then given vomit bags to wear and placed before a table with between 200 and 300 plastic cups of a drink called "kamikazes," a mixture of vodka, triple sec and lime juice, DeLiso said.
Callahan, of North Bergen, was pronounced dead Friday morning at the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, where he had been taken around 6 a.m. after he and other students who became ill spent several hours under the observation of fraternity members, officials said.
Callahan got sick within the first five or 10 minutes after the drinking began but went back to the bar, DeLiso said.
"I (later) saw Jim being carried out by one of the fraternity brothers," DeLiso said. "I figured they would just lay him down to go to sleep."
Rutgers spokeswoman Ruth Scott said as a result of the incident the university has ordered an indefinite ban on all social activities by the school's nearly 50 fraternities and sororities.
The Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity house, which authorities said was heavily damaged during the party, was ordered closed and padlocked and its 25 residents sent to live in other university housing.
Scott said the ban on fraternity social events would continue until an investigation of Callahan's death is completed, at which time further sanctions may be imposed.
Middlesex County Prosecutor Alan A. Rockoff said his office has begun a criminal investigation to determine if anyone will be charged in the death.
The incident was the second alcohol related death this semester at the main campus of the state university, which has about 33,000 undergraduate and graduate students in the New Brunswick area. A freshman later found to have a high blood alcohol content died Sept. 2 after he tumbled in front of car while fighting with a friend.END NOTES
The Rutgers party followed a Feb. 6 incident at Princeton University in which 39 students trying to join campus eating clubs suffered alcohol-related illness and one nearly died.