PV A&M student dies after run

October 21, 2009 4:21:37 PM PDT
Counselors are on the campus of Prairie View A&M University to help students and faculty deal with their grief following the sudden death of a student. Donnie Wade was running at a high school in Hempstead when he started having problems. There are questions about why the prospective fraternity member was at the school in the first place. School administrators called Wade an emerging leader. While school officials stopped short of saying his death may have been the result of a hazing incident, nothing is being ruled out.

A second semester transfer student, 20-year-old Wade was a junior majoring in biology. He was also a prospective member of the Phi Beta Sigma fraternity.

Sean Ealum knew Wade from church back in Dallas and considered him a good friend.

"He pretty much stayed to himself," Ealum recalled. "He was just a very nice guy, generous, spoke to everybody."

School administrators say Tuesday morning between 5am and 7am, Wade went for a run at Hempstead High School with another student. He had difficulty breathing, collapsed and was taken by car to North Cypress Medical Center in critical condition and later died. University police and student affairs are now investigating Wade's death and whether hazing may have played a role.

Prairie View A&M University spokesperson Sheleah Hughes explained, "Our investigation will entail interviews, getting documentation of what exactly happened leading up to that. What involvement Mr. Wade would have had with any organizations, whether it be the one he wanted to be a member of or other organizations."

Friends have set up a Facebook page in Wade's honor. As news of his death travels through campus, grieving students are demanding answers.

Student Jasmine Hanner said, "Everybody is a little down and out about it. Everybody wants to know what happened because everybody thinks it's stupid for somebody to lose their life over something so small."

University officials say they have a zero tolerance policy for hazing, and that anyone who violates it will be dealt with accordingly. Wade's body has been turned over to the Harris County Medical Examiner's office to determine a cause of death.

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