UPDATE: UK shuts down fraternity, takes other steps in wake of October death

18-year-old Thomas 'Lofton' Hazelwood died in October at Farmhouse Fraternity, President Eli Capilouto, Vice President for Student Success Kirsten Turner send statement

Campus Community,

A little more than two months ago, our community suffered a heartbreaking loss. One of our students — a life filled with promise and potential — was taken from us.

We cannot imagine the depths of anguish Lofton’s family has faced throughout these days. And we know that no amount of time will dull the pain of a life ended far too soon.

We can promise, however, that we will continue to embrace and mourn with his family as long as we can provide any type of support. This is true for the students impacted by this unspeakable tragedy as well. We are here for you.

We also pledged to provide answers and respond in ways that would prevent something terrible like this from happening again (read the report summary click here 10-18-21 Briefing Document).

As we communicated in October, the university immediately launched two investigations following this incident: one led by UK Police and the other by the UK Dean of Students Office.

These extensive investigations included nearly 50 interviews, reviews of available video evidence and reviews of hundreds of thousands of messages and exchanges on relevant social media channels and platforms.

Today, we are releasing preliminary findings from those efforts, which are detailed below:

  • The reviews found no evidence of physical coercion or forced drinking. Other new members were drinking with Lofton. At least one new member who was present where the incident occurred did not drink at all.
  • However, the reviews found that FarmHouse Chapter members practiced hazing throughout the semester, creating a culture of noncompliance in which such activities were accepted.
  • There is no evidence of criminal wrongdoing directly related to Lofton’s death, based on the findings of the institution’s investigations to date.
  • Fraudulent IDs were purchased by members, which is illegal. UK Police will be working with local, state and federal partners to address the increased use of fraudulent identification cards purchased online.
  • Outside the context of the specific incident, there were findings of several violations of university policy and the Code of Student Conduct, including hazing; underage drinking and misuse of alcohol; and failure to follow UK’s COVID-19 health and safety guidelines.

Based on these findings and after extensive reviews, the following actions have taken — or are taking — place:

  • The national chapter of FarmHouse has revoked the local chapter’s status. Members who live in the house are expected to move out, and we will work with students who want to live elsewhere on campus or find other living accommodations for next semester.
  • Further, the national chapter has issued a no-contact order, which means that the now former members of this chapter can have no association with FarmHouse for seven years.
  • Today, we are announcing the revocation of FarmHouse’s status as a registered student organization (RSO) on campus for at least four years.
  • Individual students, because of the review, could be charged with violations of UK’s Code of Student Conduct and will go through the institution’s review and hearing process.
  • Enhanced and expanded education around required responsibilities for all new members of UK Interfraternity Council (IFC) chapters must be completed before activities can be resumed. Those education and responsibility programs include peer mentoring and education, alcohol awareness education and bystander intervention education and training.
  • Increased staffing within Fraternity and Sorority Life has been — and is being — added with additional responsibilities for alcohol education and hazing prevention.

Detailed summaries of both the UK Police and Dean of Students Office investigation findings will be available here at noon today.

We cannot heal this pain. Nothing we announce today, or do in the future, will bring back Lofton. We cannot fill the emptiness of a life ended too early.

But we can come together as a community to remember and to honor Lofton’s memory. We can hold our loved ones a little bit closer. And we can embrace this family and our students who are hurting, ensuring them that this UK community will be here for them always.

That is our solemn and sacred task now.

We know you will join us in taking these next steps to ensure the health and well-being of everyone who calls this special place home. Eli Capilouto, President

Kirsten Turner, Vice President for Student Success


LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ/Press Release) – A Lexington law firm is critical of the University of Kentucky ahead of the university releasing results off two investigations into the the October death of a freshman at a fraternity.

The university is scheduled to release two reports at noon Wednesday and then make comments during a press conference at 12:30 p.m.

Following the death of University of Kentucky student Lofton Hazelwood on Oct. 18, UK began two investigations – one by the UK Office of Student Conduct and the other by UK Police. Findings from the investigations will be released online at noon at this link: https://www.uky.edu/prmarketing/student-death-%E2%80%94-thomas-lofton-hazlewood.

UK Police Chief Joe Monroe and UK Chief Communications Officer Jay Blanton will to answer media questions according to the University’s press release announcing the release.

In a release issued shortly after 11 a.m., attorney Matt Minner of Lexington and his law firm released the following statement on behalf of the family of Lofton Hazelwood:

“The tragic reality in fraternity houses across the country is that young people do not appreciate the dangers of alcohol and hazing. First-year college students are the single most at-risk group susceptible to alcohol-related injuries or death. On October 18, 2021, Lofton Hazelwood became the latest victim of fraternity-sponsored alcohol consumption and hazing.  Lofton was young, impressionable, and trying to live up to a long-standing FarmHouse fraternity tradition of pledges drinking Wild Turkey at the frat house before being required to go sing on the front steps of the campus housing of female students. Even after Lofton was in distress, he was left in a fraternity house room alone and with no attempts to get medical assistance. At the same time, the other pledges were taken to sing at sorority houses on campus. The Hazelwood family’s attorney, Matt Minner, said that “they were heartbroken to learn, through the University of Kentucky’s investigation, that Lofton was subjected to humiliating and dangerous hazing activities at FarmHouse from the time he pledged until the day he died.” The University’s investigation into the FarmHouse fraternity following Lofton’s death resulted in numerous hazing and alcohol-related violations.

“While the investigation is ongoing, one fact is clear: had Lofton Hazelwood not pledged FarmHouse Fraternity, he would still be here today,” said Minner.

The Hazelwood family is determined to ensure that this tragedy is not repeated to someone else’s son in another fraternity house. While young people may not fully appreciate the dangers of alcohol, national organizations such as FarmHouse Fraternity know well the deadly consequences that accompany hazing and alcohol.  Lofton loved farming and the outdoors. He was the baby brother to 3 sisters, all of whom attended U of K.  The community lost a boy they adored.  Minner asks that the media and public respect Hazelwood’s privacy during the Holidays as they grieve and lean on one another to heal.


LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – The Fayette County Coroner’s Office has confirmed a University of Kentucky freshman found unresponsive in a fraternity house in October died from alcohol toxicity, according to the Kentucky Kernel.

When 18-year old Thomas ‘Lofton’ Hazelwood, of Henderson, died Oct. 18, 2021, Coroner Gary Ginn suspected then the teen died of alcohol toxicity.

The report says Hazelwood’s death has been ruled accidental and no criminal charges will be filed, per the University of Kentucky Police.

Hazelwood had reportedly been drinking hard liquor heavily on the day he died, according to the report.

His toxicology report showed a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.354, according to the report.  The legal BAC limit in Kentucky is .08.

He also had amphetamines in his system, according to the report.

Hazelwood was an agricultural economics major and new member of the FarmHouse Fraternity.  He was found unresponsive in the fraternity house.  He did not live at the fraternity.  He lived in Lewis Hall on campus.

The fraternity was suspended by the university following Hazelwood’s death and the school’s Fraternity and Sorority Life Office indefinitely suspended all Interfraternity Council new member events.  ABC 36 News reached out to univeristy spokesman Jay Blanton on Tuesday for a status update.  Blanton says both suspensions are still in place.



LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – As University of Kentucky police responded to the call of an unresponsive student, leading to the death investigation of Thomas ‘Lofton’ Hazelwood, authorities also found alcohol and filed a liquor law violation report for Farmhouse Fraternity, according to UK officials.

UK spokesman Jay Blanton said as police were responding to the call, they found a room where about 20 people would have had access to alcohol. No one was seen drinking resulting in no citations.

The report from UK police has been documented for the Clery Act, a federal reporting law for colleges and universities, and that information has been forwarded to the Dean of Students’ office.

Blanton also stated that UK police is still focused on the death investigation. The Office of Student Conduct is focused on investigating violations of the student code of conduct.


LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ/UK Public Relations) – The University of Kentucky has announced changes to Interfraternity Council (IFC) chapters following the death of Thomas ‘Lofton’ Hazelwood.

University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto and UK Vice President for Student Success Kirsten Turner sent the following messages to the UK campus community on Thursday.

Below are UK President Capilouto’s and UK VP for Student Success Turner’s statements respectively:

Campus Community,

We have committed to timely and transparent communication following the death of one of our students earlier this week. We plan to honor that commitment.

Below is a message distributed this morning by Vice President for Student Success Kirsten Turner to students engaged in Fraternity and Sorority Life (FSL) activities on our campus. Follow-up meetings with FSL student leaders also are taking place today.

The message outlines new steps we’re taking to further ensure the health and well-being of our students. These steps also increase awareness and education around our students’ responsibilities  with respect to critical issues such as hazing, alcohol use and bystander intervention. In short, the steps include:

  • Suspending activities of new members of Interfraternity Council (IFC) chapters indefinitely.
  • Requiring new training for all IFC chapter members focusing on bystander intervention, and an additional course around hazing prevention and university expectations.

As the message indicates, these are first steps, but we believe they are important ones in communicating our obligations to our students and their responsibilities to each other and to our community.

We will continue to communicate about these important issues as our investigations of this tragedy progress and as we continue to evaluate how best we can protect our community and hold each other accountable in upholding that responsibility.

Thank you.

Eli Capilouto

Dear Students,
We have no more important priority than ensuring your health and well-being. You are why we are here. Please, know that we are here for you as a resource — to talk, to provide support or simply to listen.

At the same time, even as we are reviewing the circumstances of Lofton’s death, we believe it is important to think about and act upon additional steps we can, and should, take to honor our obligations to you.  It also is important that we, as a community, reinforce your responsibilities to each other.

As part of that effort, we want to take concrete steps to increase awareness and education about bystander intervention, hazing, alcohol use and education. We also want to underscore  how serious these issues are — to our campus community and to your health, safety and well-being.

Here are a number of next steps the Dean of Students Office and Fraternity and Sorority Life (FSL) are taking immediately:

  • All new member activities in Interfraternity Council (IFC) chapters at UK are suspended indefinitely. That includes all social, educational and formal interactions between new and returning members of the organization or chapter. This also includes official or unofficial new member events hosted by a chapter.
  • We will implement additional training programs that will be required of all members — new and current  — that will focus on bystander intervention training and an additional course around hazing prevention and university expectations.

These are initial steps. We will continue to evaluate our training programs and Code of Student Conduct to ensure that our training requirements are as robust and effective as possible.

We hope you will help us communicate the importance of these measures, as I know we all want the same thing — a campus that is safe, friends and fellow students who are protected and a learning and living environment that is rich and rewarding.

FSL representatives will be meeting with your leadership shortly to discuss these steps in greater detail and answer any questions.

Thank you for working with us on this very important matter. We deeply value you as students and members of our community. I know we can work together to ensure your health and safety and position you for success.

Kirsten Turner
Vice President for Student Success


LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – A vigil and funeral arrangements have been announced for Thomas ‘Lofton’ Hazelwood.

A vigil for the 18-year-old will be held at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 21 with a memorial service after at 7:30 p.m. at the UK Newman Center on Rose Lane, according to the UK Agricultural Economics department.

According to Tomblinson Funeral Homes, a funeral mass will be held on Saturday, Oct. 23 at 12 p.m. at the Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church in Henderson.

Hazelwood’s visitation will be Friday at the church from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. as well as Saturday from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Father Larry McBride will officiate the service with the burial to follow in St. Louis Cemetery in Henderson.


LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – The heartbroken mother of a UK freshman who died Monday night after being found unresponsive in a fraternity house shares information about her son as investigators try to determine if, how and where he might have drank himself to death.

And on the day after the death of 18-year-old Thomas ‘Lofton’ Hazelwood, of Henderson, students at the university are dealing with shock, sadness and grief.

“There’s a lot of rumors going around so I don’t what to believe and what not to believe so I can’t say too much about it other than it’s really sad and tragic,” said UK sophomore Victor Agresta.

According to Fayette County Coroner Gary Ginn, Hazelwood died Monday at UK Hospital after being found in the FarmHouse Fraternity. The presumed cause of death is alcohol toxicity and foul play is not suspected, the coroner said. The fraternity is suspended for now pending the results of two investigations, one by UK Police and the other by the university.

“He had an old soul, such a good boy. Everybody loved him, he never left any of us without saying ‘love you.’ He had three older sisters. He was the baby,” his mother told WHAS11 in Louisville.

According to the university, Hazelwood was an agriculture economics major and was involved in campus activities.

“There aren’t words adequate to convey what so many on our campus feel, the sense of loss and grief, sadness and emptiness,” the university said in a statement.

While students are required each year to complete alcohol training to be educated on and aware of the dangers of binge drinking, some students aren’t sure it’s enough.

“A lot of people just don’t even pay attention to it, they just do it just to get through it,” said UK junior J.B. Brown.

Students say the best advice to students who may not have experience with alcohol is to take it slow and stay with people you trust.

“Just watch how much you drink, make sure you drink plenty of water, and then make sure you surround yourself with people who will help you even through the worst,” added UK junior Joshua Schmidt.


LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto and UK Vice President for Student Success Kirsten Turner sent a message to the UK campus community Tuesday evening, saying a second investigation has been opened into the death Monday evening of an 18-year-old freshman from apparent alcohol poisoning.

Meanwhile, UK police say alcohol was not found in the FarmHouse Fraternity room where Thomas “Lofton” Hazelwood, of Henderson, was found, raising questions about where the freshman had been before he ended up at the fraternity. Hazelwood lived at Lewis Hall, the university said. All activities at the fraternity have been suspended, according to the university.

The fraternity does not allow alcohol, according to policies on its web page and the university has students go through alcohol awareness and drinking programs at the start of each school year.

Below is the message university leaders sent:

Campus Community,

Last night, our community suffered a tragic loss with the death of our student, Thomas “Lofton” Hazelwood.

Lofton, as he was known, was 18 years old and from Henderson, Ky. He was an agricultural economics major. He lived in Lewis Hall and was a new member of his fraternity. He was involved in campus activities and, we know, loved by his family.

In other words, he had all the promise of youth and the potential that comes with it.

We have been in communication with his family and many of the students who knew and loved him.

There aren’t words adequate to convey what so many on our campus feel, the sense of loss and grief, sadness and emptiness. There just isn’t. Words can’t fill that void, nor will we try.

However, what we can convey, and what we can do, is reach out with the support members of our community need during this time and in all the days ahead. That includes Lofton’s family as they are members of our family – not simply today or tomorrow, but always.

We also can – and we will – commit to finding out what happened, how it happened and why. We have conveyed to Lofton’s family that we will move as quickly as possible, but also transparently and comprehensively. We won’t speculate or engage in conjecture, but we will find out.

To that end, here’s what we know thus far and how we are moving forward to understand more fully this tragedy.

First, two investigations have been launched by the university. UK Police already has begun its investigation and is in the process of interviewing people. UK’s Office of Student Conduct also has begun a review. If you know something or have information about what happened, please call UK Police at (859) 323-8477 (TIPS).

Second, when complete, both of these investigations will be made public including any findings and recommendations, subject to necessary redactions to protect the privacy of students. But we will understand better what happened and we will communicate with Lofton’s family and our university family.

Third, as of today, the University has suspended all activities for the FarmHouse Fraternity while these investigations are ongoing. The focus of the chapter – and of university officials involved in this review – needs to remain fixed on understanding what happened and finding answers.

Fourth, as has been communicated to a number of groups throughout last evening and today, we are reaching out with the appropriate levels of support – counseling and other services – for those students and groups who are impacted by this horrible event.

More information about our counseling center’s services can be found at https://www.uky.edu/counselingcenter/.

  • You can also reach the counseling center at 24/7 at (859) 257-8701. If you are calling the counseling center after hours, press 1 from the menu of options to be connected to a clinician.
  • Additionally, the counseling center hosts a regular series of drop-in sessions at locations around campus as part of the “Let’s Talk” series. Information on this series can be found at the counseling center’s website.
  • Remember that if you are concerned about any member of the UK community, you can submit a report to the Center for Support and Intervention here: https://cm.maxient.com/reportingform.php?UnivofKentucky&layout_id=100.

What happened is unspeakably tragic, but that should never stop us from reaching out to each other to talk, to listen and to offer support. We all need help at times, never more so than when those things that are seemingly unimaginable actually happen.

Life is fragile and precious. Too often, we realize that far too late. So, while we cannot heal such a loss or fill the emptiness that we know so many feel right now, we can be there for each other a little more tomorrow than we are today, and we can commit to finding answers.

That is the project, as a community, that we will undertake together.

Eli Capilouto                                           Kirsten Turner

President                                               Vice President for Student Success


LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – The 18-year-old student who died at a University of Kentucky fraternity Monday evening apparently died from alcohol poisoning, according to Fayette County Coroner Gary Ginn.

The Farmhouse Fraternity member was identified as Thomas ‘Lofton’ Hazelwood, of Henderson, Ky., Ginn said.

He was pronounced dead at 7:06 p.m. at the University of Kentucky Medical Center from “presumed alcohol toxicity,” Ginn noted, pending investigation and toxicology reports which can take several weeks.

The manner of death is listed as “accident,” according to Ginn’s initial statement.

UK Police are handling the investigation and said officers have no indication of a party or large gathering at the fraternity house at the time and that another fraternity brother called 911. The department said early Tuesday morning foul play is not suspected.

UK officials are offering support services to members of the fraternity as well as his family and classmates.

Lofton was a first-year student majoring in agricultural economics and was a member of FarmHouse Fraternity.

“The thoughts of the entire UK community are with his family and all those who knew him,” the university said in a statement.

Each year, UK students are required to take educational programs and videos about the dangers of binge drinking at alcohol. In addition, the FarmHouse fraternity admonishes its members against the dangers of alcohol and excessive drinking. The fraternity also bans alcohol, according to its web site and policies. Alcohol is not to be used in the recruitment or induction of new members, the policies state.

Those policies and awareness program state:

What is ‘Risk’ and what is ‘Risk Management’? Simply put, risks are any actions that have the potential to
result in negative consequences for others or ourselves. Therefore ‘Risk Management’ is the decision-making
process that we undertake to mitigate the level of risk in our activities and programs. From a FarmHouse
Fraternity perspective, risk is always present. It is easy to think first of alcohol issues when the notion of risk
management in chapters is raised, but risk exists in far more areas than just chapter social events. Further, risk
doesn’t just mean breaking the law or a university or international fraternity policy. Getting a poor chapter
GPA is a risk that could result in social probation or other punishments. Not having a designated chapter
spokesperson in a crisis is a risk that may result in members making inappropriate statements to the media.
There are big risks and there are little risks.
Chapter Risk
Think of all aspects of chapter life that involve potential risks. Some examples might be: new member
activities, recruitment, social events, intramurals, chapter house, road trips, academic performance,
educational programs, etc. Every member in the chapter should be able to identify at least 2 or 3 things the
chapter does in an area that poses risk and the worst case ramifications of that risk if things work out poorly.
In all cases, the identification of an alternative activity, procedure, or plan that would reduce the level of risk
involved and potentially minimize the negative consequences to individuals and/or the chapter is available.
That is what risk management is all about: anticipating risk and taking actions to minimize exposure and
possible negative repercussions.
Risk management doesn’t mean that the risk will go away. Even the seemingly safest programs or activities
can have unanticipated consequences. What risk management is, however, is a proactive effort conducted in
advance of an action or event in an effort to minimize the potential for harm or negative results. It is
important that all chapter members understand the risks that are associated with the chapter. This is because
each and every member is regularly in the position to generate or reduce risk for the chapter. We need every
chapter member to think like the Director of Risk Management: “What is the worst possible thing that can
happen and how can I minimize that risk?”
Alcohol and Drug Use
FarmHouse is a member of FRMT and abides by the Risk Management Policies of this organization. Every
chapter member needs to understand these policies and begin identifying ways that a chapter might reduce
their risk. With regards to alcohol and drug use, the following regulations apply:
One of the fundamental expectations of membership in FarmHouse is the belief in and adherence to our
long-standing policy prohibiting alcohol in the chapter house or on FarmHouse property. The responsibility
of FH chapters, associations and advisors to enforce this policy locally is what makes it work. The policy was
adopted and re-affirmed many times by our chapters and associations – thereby making a policy that
FarmHouse men universally believe in and support.
It’s pretty simple: the DRINKING AGE IS 21 in all states, and anyone (a member or a guest) who consumes
alcoholic beverages underage runs the risk of trouble. In addition, chapter functions (which can be any event
an observer would associate with the Fraternity) with alcohol present must abide by either the “Bring Your
Own (Alcoholic) Beverage” policy or must use a 3rd party vendor.
No funds collected by the chapter in any form, including dues or “passing the hat”, can be used for the
purchase of alcohol. It is illegal for individuals of legal drinking age to purchase alcohol for anyone under 21
years of age. FARMHOUSE IS NOT A TAVERN, so we shouldn’t be in the business of providing alcohol.
When we do, we take on a huge risk. Also, in today’s college culture, a bulk quantity of alcohol translates to
most observers as an opportunity to binge drink, which creates the risk for things like alcohol poisoning, falls,
death, and other injuries. This means that kegs, cases, and other mass quantity of alcohol are a HUGE risk
and liability.
In order to further decrease risk, all events MUST HAVE A GUEST LIST and non-members of the
Fraternity must have specific invitations. Know who your guests are! The campus phone directory does not
constitute a guest list, nor does a listing of every sorority woman on your campus. The FIPG Policy suggests
that attendance at social events with alcohol present should not exceed two guests per member.
It should go without saying that it is against the law to purchase for, or serve alcohol to, someone who is
under 21 years of age. Again, against the law equals increased risk.
The chapter is equally liable if they co-sponsor an event with a vendor/tavern where alcohol is present, given
away, or sold to those present.
Any chapter that CO-SPONSORS OR CO-FINANCES an event with other chapters/organizations is
equally liable for an incident if any of the other groups purchase alcohol. That means the chapter SHARES
THE RISK even if they are following every other FIPG guideline.
Any individual expected to make a life changing choice (accepting a bid) cannot be counted upon to make an
educated decision when under the influence of alcohol. Additionally, if alcohol is the only selling point the
chapter has to a prospective member, then it is time for the chapter to rethink why they exist. Finally, most of
men seeking to join a fraternity are under the legal drinking age which makes it illegal for them to drink
alcohol. ABSOLUTELY NO ALCOHOL can be present at any recruitment event or activity.
“Drinking games” encourage binge drinking which increases the risk of an accident. Chapters that don’t
permit, tolerate, encourage, or participate in such antics can reduce their risk significantly.
MEMBERS. Most new members are under the legal drinking age anyway, which means it’s not only illegal,
but it makes the risk and liability especially high.


LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – The University of Kentucky is investigating after an 18-year-old student was found unresponsive — and later died — Monday night at a fraternity.

According to UK spokesperson Jay Blanton and UK Police, officers responded to the FarmHouse Fraternity at about 6:20 p.m. Monday regarding a report of an unresponsive student.

The student was taken to UK Healthcare’s Chandler Medical Center. Attempts to revive him were unsuccessful.

UK Police continue to investigate the circumstances of his death but say foul play is not suspected.

The fraternity has issued a statement concerning the situation, offering its condolences to the family of what it described as a new fraternity member and his family. The statement read:

“We are saddened to share the passing of a University of Kentucky new member of FarmHouse Fraternity. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, chapter members and the entire community. We have encouraged all members to cooperate with the investigation. We will provide additional information as it becomes available,” FarmHouse Fraternity CEO Christian Wiggins said.

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