Audience members applaud during a memorial service at Virginia State University in Chesterfield County, Va. Friday, April 26, 2013 for two students, Jauwan Holmes and Marvell Edmondson, who drowned in the nearby Appomattox River on April 20. Edmonson of Portsmouth and Holmes of Newport News were swept away by the rapids of the Appomattox during what police have described as part of an initiation involving the group "Men of Honor." Four men affiliated with the group have been charged with hazing. VSU has said the little-known group is not sanctioned by VSU. (AP Photo/The Progress-Index, Patrick Kane)
ETTRICK, Va. (AP) — Hundreds gathered on campus of Virginia State University to remember two young men who drowned in the Appomattox River during an initiation rite.
VSU President Keith Miller called the two 19-year-old freshmen men of promise and potential at a memorial held Friday in the gymnasium on the Ettrick campus of VSU.
He blamed the loss of Marvell Edmonson and Jauwan Holmes on "outdated rituals" and said he was hopeful others would learn from their deaths.
The two students were swept away by rapids as they attempted to cross the Appomattox during an initiation for an unsanctioned social club called "Men of Honor." Other students survived the ordeal.
Four men have been charged with hazing in the deaths.