Volume 94, Issue 43

Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2000


Paul Martin goes to market

Welfare drug testing a possibility

Newfoundland tries to shock smokers

U of Michigan student dies after 20 shots of scotch

Campus Briefs

Maclean's says Ontario schools lagging

Corroded Disorder

U of Michigan student dies after 20 shots of scotch

By Mike Murphy>
Gazette Staff

Birthday festivities ended in absolute sorrow on Monday when an engineering student at the University of Michigan died after binge drinking in celebration of his 21st birthday.

According to Julie Peterson, university spokesperson for the U of M, Byung Soo Kim died at approximately 6 a.m. Monday morning after consuming 20 shots of alcohol in a short period of time on the night of Friday Nov. 10.

"I think people were very saddened by this event," Peterson said. "It's really a terrible thing to have happen."

"I've heard a number of people talking about this on campus today. The students, of course, who knew him are devastated," she added.

Peterson confirmed police reports indicate friends of Kim called 911 when they realized he had passed out and was not breathing. Examiners found Kim had a blood-alcohol content of .39, well over the legal limit for driving, she added.

A memorial was held at the university last night to provide a public expression of grief over the the unexpected death, Peterson said.

In a written statement, Kim's parents, Ha Young Kim and Jung Sun Park, thanked those who have supported them during their time of mourning and said binge drinking was uncharacteristic behaviour for their son.

"We would like to emphasize that this incident does not represent our son's usual behaviour;" they wrote. "He did not drink regularly and according to his friends was often the one to take care of friends who had had too much to drink."

Kim's parents also said in the statement they hope their son's death will serve as a cautionary tale to others and they plan to establish a fund in his memory that will help international students and provide information on substance abuse.

At Western, Insp. Bob Earle of the University Police Department said student binge drinking is always an issue.

"We certainly haven't had anything as serious as a fatality," he said, but added, "We do see binge drinking. We deal with it on a fairly regular basis."

Earle said he has perceived a trend toward more binge drinking during his 17-year tenure at Western.

"There's been a little bit of a change since I've been here in that there seems to be a larger number of people drinking with the specific goal of getting drunk."

He said low-risk drunks can be escorted back to residence, but more serious cases may have to be taken to the downtown detoxification centre, detained in a cell, or transported to hospital.

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Copyright The Gazette 2000