New details emerge in death of USM student

New details emerge in death of USM student
Cole Whaley. Source: USM
A fraternity member confirmed the death was during their formal. Source: WDAM
A fraternity member confirmed the death was during their formal. Source: WDAM

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WDAM) - New details are emerging regarding the death of a University of Southern Mississippi undergrad.

Cole Whaley, an honors student, died in New Orleans overnight Friday.

University officials said they were notified on Saturday Whaley, a student from Mobile, Ala. and member of Pi Kappa Phi fraternity, had died.

The University has since confirmed Whaley was on an off-campus fraternity function.

"The University was informed Saturday morning of the death of one of our students, Cole Whaley," said Eddie Holloway, Dean of Students. "We are all saddened by this tragedy, and are reaching out to his family, friends and loved ones to offer our prayers and support."

WDAM 7 went to the Pi Kappa Phi house on campus Monday morning.

A fraternity member told Seven On Your Side that the incident was a "freak accident, the window shattered, it was a real bad accident."

Seven on Your Side reached out to the New Orleans Police Department and Orleans Parish Coroner for a report on the incident.  We have not yet heard back.  WDAM 7 has not been able to confirm exact details of the incident at this time.

The Southern Miss Interfraternity Council posted this message Sunday evening on it's Facebook page:

"Members of our Pi Kappa Phi chapter are conducting a private ritual to mourn the loss of member Cole Whaley, but also celebrate his life. Cole was a high achieving student who had a passion not only for his fraternity and his fraternity brothers but Southern Miss as well. Cole was a competitive intramural participant and always promoted a high level of sportsmanship. He was a member of the Honors College and always encouraged his fraternity brothers to succeed academically. We know Cole has influenced many in our community and we are thankful for the time with him and his impact on us. Our thoughts and prayers go to his family, his fraternity brothers, his Spanish Fort community and all those affected."

WDAM 7 reached out to the Pi Kappa Phi national office.  In a statement, Pi Kappa Phi Chief Executive Officer Mark E. Timmes said "Our thoughts and prayers are with Cole's family and friends."

A Pi Kappa Phi brother told Seven on Your Side the fraternity is planning and memorial for Whaley.  The brother said Whaley "will never be forgotten."  Another member told WDAM 7 Whaley was "a great guy, the kind of person everyone wanted to be around."

USM and fraternity alumni are offering counseling services and support to  those affected by Whaley's death. Student Counseling Services (SCS) can be reached at (601) 266-4829 during regular business hours and after 5 p.m. and on weekends at (601) 606-4357 (HELP).

This is a developing story.  We will update you with new information as soon as it comes into the newsroom.