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Family of UB student files lawsuit in hazing death

Serafin-Bazan died while pledging fraternity
Posted at 11:49 AM, Aug 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-24 13:46:10-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The family of a University at Buffalo student who died while pledging a fraternity last year has filed a lawsuit against UB, the fraternity and several students who were there the night of Sebastian Serafin-Bazan’s death.

Additionally, UB plans to discipline eight students the university says were involved in the incident.

The lawsuit, filed in State Supreme Court in Westchester County last month, claims the defendants “permitted hazing to occur and recklessly allowed the Fraternity to exist despite prior violations and suspensions as a result of prior similar conduct.”

No drugs or alcohol were found in Serafin-Bazan’s system on the night of April 11, 2019, but his death was suspected to be connected to a hazing incident which allegedly occurred at an off-campus UB Sigma Pi fraternity house located on Custer Street in Buffalo.

Serafin-Bazan died in a Buffalo hospital five days after he was found unresponsive on the front lawn of the Custer Street property.

After the April 2019 incident, Greek Life was suspended at UB and a review was conducted. UB later that summer pledged to bolster oversight and accountability of Greek life. In April of this year, Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn Jr. announced he would not criminally charge anyone in the death.

The lawsuit claims the defendants “acted recklessly in failing to ensure the plaintiff received medical attention and caused and/or contributed to his death by their reckless disregard for his wellbeing."

"The University at Buffalo is conducting disciplinary proceedings involving eight students, following an internal review of evidence gathered by the Buffalo Police Department investigating the tragic death of student Sebastian Serafin-Bazan on April 12, 2019," a UB spokesman said in a written statement. "The review by University Police and UB’s Office of Student Conduct and Advocacy found enough evidence to warrant university disciplinary proceedings for suspected hazing, a serious violation of UB’s Student Code of Conduct."

Click here to read the lawsuit.