A Binghamton University freshman died off campus on Saturday, March 18. Nineteen-year-old Conor Donnelly was from Pearl River, New York.
The Binghamton Police Department (BPD) responded to the Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity house at 92 Front St. around 2 p.m., after it was reported that a person fell from a fourth-floor balcony located behind the house. Donnelly was taken to United Health Services Wilson Medical Center in Johnson City, where he was pronounced dead.
According to a press release from BPD, Donnelly fell while trying to climb to the third-floor balcony from the fourth-floor balcony.
“Donnelly’s death has been ruled accidental,” the release read. “Autopsy findings support that Donnelly had been drinking and it is believed that this was a contributing factor.”
Ryan Yarosh, the director of media and public relations for the University, said on Monday, March 20 that the University had temporarily suspended Alpha Sigma Phi pending the results of an investigation by BPD and the University.
“Binghamton University is currently conducting an investigation into the death of Conor Donnelly, in collaboration with the Binghamton Police Department,” Yarosh wrote. “Our Dean of Students Office and Case Management Services met with the student’s parents when they arrived and have been providing them support.”
Alpha Sigma Phi said in a statement that they are deeply saddened by the tragedy, and that they will work with BPD and the University throughout the investigation.
“Alpha Sigma Phi is very saddened to learn of the passing of Conor Donnelly, and we extend our deepest sympathies to his family and friends,” the statement read. “While police have determined his death to be an accident, we will continue to provide our full cooperation during the ongoing investigation. Additionally, a senior Alpha Sigma Phi staff member is now in Binghamton to provide support to members after the loss of their friend.”
A statement was released by Binghamton University around 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 18. BU President Harvey Stenger expressed his support for the campus community.
“It is always difficult to lose someone, but it is especially difficult to lose a young member of our campus community so suddenly,” Stenger said in the statement.
Donnelly had allegedly been attending a party as part of “New Parade Day.” The day was organized in reaction to a University break that overlapped with the city of Binghamton’s annual Parade Day, which had fallen on March 4 this year. Many students who had wished to attend the original day could not because of the University’s closing.
Binghamton Mayor Rich David said in an interview on WNBF’s “Binghamton Now” program that he anticipated this day would be similar to other bar crawl events that students partake in each year, and that additional police presence would probably be needed.
L.C. Coghill, the director of Greek life at Binghamton University, sent an email to Greek organizations on March 12 discouraging participation in the event.
“Unlike actual Parade Day, this day will not have the approval of the city nor will it have appropriate police presence and security,” he wrote. “It is my understanding that the police do not support this day and therefore it is likely they will have very little patience for questionable behavior.”
The University Counseling Center added additional hours on Saturday and Sunday for students who were affected by Donnelly’s death.
The Binghamton Police Department confirmed that they are investigating, but had no further comment at press time. BU Greek life organizations have requested that their members not speak to any media outlets about the incident.
This story is developing, and will be updated when more information becomes available. Visit bupipedream.com throughout the week for more information.