Student who attended "politically incorrect" party found dead in the shower days after facing intense backlash for 'insensitivity'
The 22-year-old was one of the Charles Sturt University students that attended a politically incorrect party that caused widespread outrage after pictures of the event surfaced.
Authorities reported the death of a university student who was part of an online scandal after he and his friends wore Nazi uniforms, donned KKK outfits, and painted their faces black, spurring instant outrage on social media. Earlier this week, Andrew Stanham, 22, was found dead under a shower at his residence in Wagga Wagga.
Pictures from a "politically incorrect" party that the 22-year-old Charles Sturt University student attended received a major backlash after being shared across Facebook and Instagram. According to The Daily Telegraph, family members believe that Andrew suffered a seizure and fell in the shower. However, his father Mark thinks that the outrage over the innocent images claimed his son's life.
“The jury is out on the cause of death, we suspect it was an epileptic seizure which resulted in a fall which led to a compromised airway,” Stanham said. “There is no doubt that stress is a contributing factor.”
After facing severe criticism over the pictures, Stanham says his son had "copped a lot of vitriol" and was "petrified to walk down the streets of Wagga." Citing breaches of the university's Anti-Racism Policy, CSU suspended a number of students who had attended the June 14 party after the photographs shared online were condemned by many.
In one of the photographs, a group of five people is seen dressed up as the Ku Klux Klan surrounding a man holding a bowl of cotton and painted in blackface. The said image garnered the worst backlash for its alleged "insensitivity". The picture was captioned: “Very very politically incorrect. Cotton prices are unreal thought so it’s a great time to be pickin’.”
Some other photos showed the partygoers dressed up as Hitler, Nazis, as well as Jewish Holocaust prisoners from concentration camps.
In a conversation with news.com.au, one of Andrew's friends, Taz Kuhn, who was also suspended, revealed that members of the university were greatly affected by the recent events. He said that no one is “jumping to any conclusions” about the impact the fallout from the party may have had without a proper probe.
“Andy was a kid who lived life to its fullest whether it was being a key player on the rugby field, or the life of the party but he would always have the time for his mates and family and that’s what would come first,” Kuhn said. “He was hardworking, caring, funny and one of a kind. Words can’t describe the bloke we have lost but all we can say is we’ve lost a brother and he can’t ever be replaced.
“He’s going to be missed forever.”
Charles Sturt University told news.com.au that the University’s “thoughts and sympathies are with the family and friends of Andrew”. “Counselling and support is being provided to CSU students and staff who have been affected by this sad event,” it said in a statement.
Andrew's friends and well-wishers have already begun sending tributes and extending condolences on his demise. He was a member of the Kooringal Colts Cricket Club, which wrote a Facebook post extending its condolences to the bereaved family of their lost teammate.
“It is with great sadness that the club has learned that we have lost a Colt. Andy suddenly & tragically passed away yesterday morning,” the post read. “He was well liked around the club, performing well on the field, the life of the post-game functions & most importantly a great bloke.
“The Club on behalf of all of members & supporters wish to pass our condolences onto Andy’s family & friends, our thoughts & prayers are with you during this difficult time.”
After the aforementioned suspension, students were barred from entering the campus and were forced to undergo cultural awareness training, according to an insider. As further punishment, students were ordered to undertake studies in Indigenous Australian Cultures, Histories and Contemporary Realities and show solidarity to the Indigenous and Jewish communities in the neighborhood.
One of Andrew's friends said he was still in shock over the loss of his mate. Several others posted their tributes on social media. "RIP mate, will have a beer when I see you next. Love you mate. Gonna miss you big time you have been a huge part of my life," one wrote.