ShareThis Page
Pennsylvania

Pitt won't charge frat in student's alcohol poisoning

| Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018, 3:12 p.m.
The Sigma Chi fraternity chapter at the University of Pittsburgh is under suspension for an alcohol-related incident involving a student.
Ben Schmitt / Tribune-Review
The Sigma Chi fraternity chapter at the University of Pittsburgh is under suspension for an alcohol-related incident involving a student.
Cathedral of Learning at the University of Pittsburgh
Cathedral of Learning at the University of Pittsburgh

A University of Pittsburgh student who was hospitalized for alcohol poisoning on Jan. 18 voluntarily drank to excess during an off-campus fraternity recruitment event, Pitt officials said Thursday.

“The Pitt police found no evidence of hazing, and determined that an underage student voluntarily drank to excess on the evening of Jan. 18 before being assisted and transported to the hospital by concerned classmates,” Pitt spokesman Joe Miksch said in an email Thursday afternoon.

Miksch said the student who was hospitalized had been attending a recruitment event for the Sigma Chi fraternity. He said the student has since recovered. Pitt would not say how high his blood alcohol content was, noting that the university doesn't provide information on student medical conditions.

“Absent new information, Pitt Police do not intend to pursue charges against any individual or organization involved,” Miksch said.

He said Sigma Chi remains on interim suspension as Pitt's offices of Student Affairs and Fraternity and Sorority life review the incident for any violations of the Student Code of Conduct or Greek life policies.

“Action will be taken if deemed appropriate,” Miksch said.

Pitt's announcement came the same day that Penn State President Eric J. Barron called for new state and federal laws and cooperation from national Greek life organizations to end dangerous drinking and hazing rituals.

Marking the approach of the first anniversary of the death of a Penn State student in an alcohol-fueled hazing incident at a Penn State fraternity, Barron said he will broach cooperative action to end such practices at colleges across the country at a national gathering of university presidents, provosts and student affairs leaders on April 23 and 24.

Pitt's actions against Sigma Chi marked the fourth time in three months that a chapter of one of the nation's largest and oldest fraternities was sanctioned.

Kenyon Bonner, Pitt's vice provost and dean of students, is scheduled to meet with student leaders from the university's Greek life community later this week to continue work on a plan that reaffirms their commitment to student conduct policies and helps ensure the safety of those in such organizations.

In a letter to students Thursday, Bonner reiterated his thanks to the students who sought help for the student who suffered alcohol poisoning and noted that “alcohol emergencies can involve anyone in our community.”

Debra Erdley is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-320-7996 or derdley@tribweb.com or via Twitter @deberdley_trib

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me