- Associated Press - Monday, November 10, 2014

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Family members of a Washington University student who fell to his death from a balcony say they believe the school is partly responsible.

Yongsang Soh died when he fell from a 23rd floor balcony in October 2013. The death was first ruled a suicide but the death certificate was changed a year later to say the cause of death was undetermined. The presence of LSD in his system was listed as a factor.

Soh’s family this summer sought a $50 million settlement from Washington University, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (https://bit.ly/1EkmDR9 ) reported. In exchange, the family promised not to sue or publicize concerns about what they called the school’s lax enforcement of discipline.

The school rejected that proposal. University spokeswoman Jill Friedman said over the weekend that the school would not comment on pending legal matters.

The St. Louis Police Department said that while it’s not seeking a suspect in Soh’s death, an investigation is active and ongoing.

A jogger discovered 22-year-old Soh’s body outside of the Dorchester apartments on Oct. 26, 2013. Authorities said there weren’t any signs of foul play and that it looked like Soh fell to his death.

Soh’s family said in a settlement proposal obtained by the Post-Dispatch that Soh had “zero history of drug use or illegal behavior prior to commencing his studies at the university.” They say Soh fell in with a drug culture at the university and that ultimately led to his death.

Some of Soh’s friends told the family’s private investigators that he had taken LSD the night he died.

The settlement proposal mentioned Soh’s involvement with the Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity’s Phi chapter, which was kicked off Upper Fraternity Row in 2008 after a criminal drug investigation that resulted in some arrests.

In 2012, the fraternity was disbanded by its national office and suspended by the university following an investigation that revealed “significant violations.”

Soh’s family said the university was too easy on students carrying or selling drugs and opted to refer them to the school’s disciplinary system rather than turning them over to law enforcement. They say that leniency allowed members of the fraternity to set up a system for students to buy and sell drugs.

Friedman rejected the idea that the school was too lenient and said it was clear to students how they were expected to behave.

“The university took serious disciplinary action against involved students - up to and including permanent termination - and referred individual cases to the local prosecutor for consideration of criminal charges,” Friedman said.


Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, https://www.stltoday.com

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