The University of Minnesota student who was found dead in his fraternity house in September had alcohol in his system and died from accidental asphyxiation, according to the medical examiner’s office.
Dylan Fulton of Miller, S.D., was found by a roommate on Sept. 12 about 4:54 a.m. in the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity house near the St. Paul campus. He was last seen alive between 1 and 1:30 that morning.
Ramsey County Medical Examiner Lori Hedican said Friday that Fulton, a 20-year-old sophomore, died of “probable asphyxia” and “possible positional asphyxia with aspiration.” Other “significant causes” included alcohol intoxication, she said.
His death was ruled an accident.
Autopsy results showed that stomach contents were found in Fulton’s airway and that he had breathed some into his lungs, Hedican said.
Fulton was listed as an animal science major with an emphasis in beef production. He also was a member of the university’s Gopher Dairy Club, which promotes the dairy industry.
Fraternity members who were home at the time reported Fulton’s death to authorities and cooperated with the investigation. St. Paul police said there were no signs of foul play, hazing or initiation practices.
At the monthly meeting of the U’s governing board Friday, President Eric Kaler told regents that the university’s Interfraternity Council had agreed at his urging to ban hard liquor at Twin Cities parties and other events, unless the alcohol is provided by a third-party vendor.
The administration pressed for the ban in the days following Fulton’s death, enlisting help from alumni to make its case. The prohibition recently went into effect about a year before such a ban by the North-American Interfraternity Conference is slated to take effect nationally.
“We set some expectations for this group, and our students stepped up,” Kaler said. “There is nothing more important than the safety of our students.”
Chapter is suspended
Alpha Gamma Rho describes itself as “the premier social and professional food, agricultural and natural resource sciences fraternity” at the university.
The fraternity’s national office said it suspended the chapter on Sept. 12. Several conditions were imposed: All chapter operations were suspended, chapter members were suspended from regular activity, no alcohol is allowed in the chapter house or property and the suspension will not be lifted without all members’ cooperation.
“Alpha Gamma Rho has pledged its full and complete cooperation to resolve this situation and any resulting actions or discipline,” said a statement by Rex Martin, CEO of the national office. “The Fraternity is dedicated to create an environment at Lambda Chapter conducive to fulfilling our purpose.”