Mason’s Sigma Alpha Epsilon remembers lost brother


By Olivia Vermane, Staff writer and Fareeha Rehman, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Mason’s Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) chapter held a vigil at the North Plaza clocktower 8 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 1 to remember a Mason student and SAE brother who passed away on Saturday, Sept. 30.

The North Plaza was filled with brothers, friends, and other supporters mourning the loss of the student by lighting candles, reciting prayers, and sharing memories.

Attendees stood together at the clocktower for more than an hour in memory of the student. “It is so heartwarming to see everyone here together for something like this… all of our hearts are going out to each other.” said one SAE brother.

Even after the ceremony concluded, almost everyone stood still and silent, unable to bring the night to an end.

Many members of SAE shared personal memories and stories of the student, reflecting on his life and the many ways he impacted not only his fellow brothers, but everyone he met at Mason.

“He would always bring the light to every room, each moment spent with him was an incredible moment… always smiling and laughing, always making jokes . . . we should remember this and try to get over this all together,” another SAE brother said of the deceased.

An email sent to the Mason community by Mason Police on Saturday night said the student “may have ingested a hallucinogenic substance and was transported to the hospital.”  

According to Michael Sandler, the Director of Strategic Communications for Mason, the 19-year-old sophomore was found alive but unresponsive on the ground at Potomac Heights Residence Hall on campus and died at the Inova Fairfax Hospital.

Sandler said students reported to police that “the victim was on a hallucinogenic substance when he ran through a window on the fifth floor and fell to the ground.” Police and medics performed CPR before he was transported to the hospital.

The investigation remains active and the university is waiting on toxicology reports to confirm the specific type of hallucinogenic substance ingested by the student. The results could take days or weeks to be confirmed by the medical examiner, according to Sandler.

In the email sent by Mason Police, Campus Police Chief Carl Rowan urged students that have taken a hallucinogenic substance or are in possession of a hallucinogenic substance to contact law enforcement or University Police at 703-993-2810.

Mason provides a medical amnesty program to support students who experience alcohol and/or other drug-related situations occurring both on and off campus, according to the Office of Student Conduct’s website.

The program “offers students who proactively exhibit responsible behavior the opportunity for educational, non-disciplinary intervention for the incident.”

Specific eligibility requirements are listed on the website. For example,  a student is only eligible for amnesty once during their time at Mason.

However, when a student calls the medical amnesty program on behalf of another student, the witness is “not limited in the number of times that they may utilize the medical amnesty program.”

After an incident is reported, “the student(s) involved in the situation will meet with a member of the Office of Student Conduct and it will be determined if the involved student(s) qualify for medical amnesty,” according to the site.

For students experiencing significant emotional distress, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) has walk-in Crisis Consultations Monday – Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Counselors can be reached after hours by calling Mason Police.

Photo by Nicolas Macotto