New details emerge from investigation into now-disbanded UK fraternity

WATCH | New details emerge from investigation into now-disbanded UK fraternity
Published: Nov. 17, 2022 at 4:52 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - We are learning disturbing new details from an investigation into the now-disbanded Farmhouse Fraternity at the University of Kentucky.

A report from UK’s Office of Student Conduct’s investigation details what they describe as a “deeply ingrained culture of alcohol and hazing behaviors that showed a clear lack and understanding of policy.”

In October 2021, 18-year-old Thomas “Lofton” Hazelwood was found unresponsive in the FarmHouse Fraternity. He later died at UK Hospital. The coroner says Hazelwood died from alcohol toxicity.

“Hazing is out of control throughout this country,” Lofton’s mother, Tracey Hazelwood said.

An emotional message from a grieving mother who is working to save lives after she says hazing lead to her son’s death last year.

“He was so intoxicated that he could barely walk, and they ended up practically carrying him to a bedroom at the house,” said Tracey. “They laid him on a bed and took Snapchat pictures of him while they messed with his arms and his body.”

Multiple investigations have been launched since Hazelwood’s death, including one by UK’s Office of Student Conduct.

A report obtained by the Kentucky Kernel details violated guidelines under the code of conduct’s hazing prevention policy, which includes negligent or reckless behavior, that humiliates or endangers an individual.

Based on findings, the report says Farmhouse violated the guidelines and charges of hazing, misuse of alcohol, violations of law or other UK policies were recommended.

The Kentucky Kernel also details some of the pledging rituals.

One of which included a scavenger hunt that took place just a couple of weeks before Hazelwood’s death where new pledges had to complete certain tasks including flipping a port-a-potty with a new member inside, getting a girl to slap them in the face, shotgun a beer with a homeless person and take a picture in a cop car.

In October 2022, Hazelwood’s family spoke before lawmakers in Frankfort to push for stiffer anti-hazing laws in Kentucky. “Lofton’s Law” would make hazing that results in serious physical injury or death a felony, and reckless participation in hazing a misdemeanor.

“The definition of hazing is humiliation and sometimes dangerous initiation rituals, especially imposed on college students seeking membership to a fraternity or sorority,” Tracey said.

In December 2021, we were told UK police found no foul play in the case, and no charges would be filed.

This is a developing story.