George Fox student dies after attending Halloween Party

This story was originally published in The Crescent of George Fox University on November 5, 2014. It was written by George Fox editor-in-chief Leah Abraham. This story is printed here through the Northwest News Network, a collaborative project between many northwestern collegiate newspapers.

On Nov. 1, George Fox University sophomore Aaron Altman died after attending a rave in Seattle.

The cause of death is unknown and the toxicology report is currently underway.

According to King 5, Altman attended the FreakNight Festival and allegedly overdosed on “Molly,” a popular party drug. FreakNight is the largest 2-day annual rave held on Halloween. The second night of the festival was cancelled after reports of Altman’s death.

King 5 also reported that “the Seattle Fire Department said they brought 16 people to the hospital following the first night of FreakNight on Friday, but the Seattle Police Department said late Saturday night that they still did not have a report of a death linked to the event.”

Mark Pothoff, dean of Community Life, said that Altman’s death was first reported two days after the event through social media posts and rumors overheard by a resident assistant.

“It was about 48 hours after he died that we heard about it, which we actually thought was a long time, given how information gets passed through social media and through students,” said Pothoff. “It’s challenging in a situation like this because of the alleged cause of death and what was put out in the media before. His family has said that it was an accidental death and there has been no mention of the causes of how that happened.”

“We really don’t know any of the details of who he was with, but we did hear he was with his brother when he died. I don’t know if he was with him the whole time, what actually took place, what he or may not have done,” said Pothoff.

Altman was a Finance major who lived off campus. According to Pothoff, Altman was a well-connected student who lived in Pennington Hall last year.

David Liu, assistant professor of management, had Altman in his Business Ethics class. According to Liu, Altman was a bright and talented student. “He was very participative in class,” said Liu. “Very polite, very cordial. He had a lot of insight. I was so proud of him; he was on the dean’s list. I will miss him and our class will miss him.”

“I didn’t know him well but every time I saw him, he would would smile and say hi to me,” said Junior Mason Kriz. “All of my interactions with him were filled with life. I think my response to his death is more a response to everyone who has been impacted by it. It’s hard to see so many people on this campus hurting.”

Altman’s family hosted a memorial service at Beaverton Foursquare on Nov. 8. Click here for more information.