College Student with Severe Allergy Allegedly Hazed with Peanut Butter: 'He Could Have Been Killed'
This article originally appeared on People.com.
Central Michigan University is investigating an allegation that a student with a severe peanut allergy was covered with peanut butter while passed out during a hazing incident at the Alpha Chi Rho fraternity last fall, the school’s spokeswoman confirmed to PEOPLE.
Heather Smith said alleged victim Andrew Seely spent the fall 2016 semester as a student at the university.
“We take these types of things very seriously,” Smith tells PEOPLE. “So the CMU Police Department and CMU’s Office of Student Conduct responded immediately and started looking into it. The alleged incident would have taken place off-campus, so we involved the Mt. Pleasant Police Department because that would have been their jurisdiction. To my knowledge, there still has not been a police report filed with them, but it’s a potentially criminal matter.”
Mt. Pleasant Police Department spokesman Jeff Brown tells PEOPLE that, as of mid-day Thursday, they “do not have any open investigations into this information that’s been put out on social media, and we have not had any complaints filed.”
On Facebook on Tuesday, Seely’s mother — Teresa Seely — posted a photo of her son’s face that was allegedly taken after the incident.
She wrote, “Last night, we found out that our son was a victim of a hazing incident at Alpha Chi Rho Fraternity at Central Michigan University in the fall. This is a picture of what they did to him. He has a deadly peanut allergy and they rubbed peanut butter on his face while he was passed out.”
She said that “he could have been killed,” saying he was treated at the campus health clinic and “luckily he is still alive.” She also said that Seely carries Benadryl tablets and an Epi-pen at all times, adding that she had notified the school as well as campus and local police.
A spokesman for Central Michigan University’s Campus Police tells PEOPLE they are aware of the allegations but will not be conducting an investigation because the site of the alleged incident was off-campus.
Both Smith and the campus police confirmed that the school spoke with the student’s mother on Wednesday and informed her of next steps.
“The university — both campus police and the administration — reached out to the involved parent, and she has been directed on how to make a formal complaint and report with both the university and the Mt. Pleasant Police Department,” the campus police spokesman says.
The spokesman says the campus police and university were originally alerted to the alleged incident because of the Facebook post.
Theresa further spoke to the Detroit Free Press, explaining that her son has since transferred from Central Michigan University. She said that although the alleged incident happened in October, he only revealed it to them this week.
“We thought we were sending our child off to school in a safe environment, and obviously that wasn’t the case,”she told the paper. “He could have died from this. He has a deadly peanut allergy.”
Smith tells PEOPLE that Alpha Chi Rho has not been a recognized fraternity at Central Michigan University since 2011, when they were removed for hazing. She added that they appealed the decision last year, but were denied.
She says that, pending the conduction of and results from a police investigation, any CMU students involved would potentially be subject to conduct charges.
Alpha Chi Rho National Fraternity did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s requests for comment.
Teresa Seely also did not immediately respond to requests for comment, but the family’s attorney, Dan Damman, says the Seelys “want to bring awareness to the fact that this could still be happening on college campuses.”
The family wants to “bring awareness to parents to spark a conversation with their kids who are away at college and really bring to light through universities that this is still something that is a problem,” Damman says.
He tells PEOPLE, “This young man really put his trust and his faith into these people that were supposed to be his friends.”