ShareThis Page
Pitt fraternity suspended for alcohol-related incident that left student hospitalized |

Pitt fraternity suspended for alcohol-related incident that left student hospitalized

Ben Schmitt And Megan Guza
| Tuesday, January 23, 2018 3:42 p.m
Fraternities at the Univesity of Pittsburgh.
Cathedral of Learning

A University of Pittsburgh fraternity was suspended Tuesday amid an investigation into what officials described as an “alcohol-related incident in which a student was hospitalized.”

The suspension, in connection with a Thursday incident, means “a cessation of operations of a chapter pending the outcome of an investigation,” Pitt spokesman Joe Miksch said in an email.

Additionally, all university fraternities and sororities have been placed on “modified social probation,” meaning they can’t sponsor, co-sponsor, or participate in any social activities in which alcohol is present.

Dean of Students Kenyon Bonner issued the Greek-wide probation order after the incident.

In a letter to fraternities and sororities Friday, he referred to the matter as a “serious alcohol incident.”

“The gravity of this incident demands that we reflect on who we are as a Greek system and as a university community in terms of alcohol use,” Bonner said in a statement Tuesday. “Fraternities and sororities play an important role in the lives of our students and university culture and we are proud of our students who are stepping up to address this issue. We are certain that the fraternity and sorority community at Pitt can help us build a safer and healthier environment for everyone to participate in.”

Several fraternity members in a row of residences in Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood declined to comment on the record Tuesday to a Trib reporter.

Chatter on social media has revealed the possible name of the fraternity involved, but school officials declined to confirm the identity. However, three students at neighboring fraternities said the incident occurred at the Sigma Chi house.

Sigma Chi national chapter officials did not return calls and emails from the Trib on Tuesday.

Greek life leaders met Saturday to discuss the incident with Summer Rothrock, the director of the Office of Cross Cultural and Leadership Development, which houses Greek life, The Pitt News reported. Rothrock did not return calls Tuesday.

“We cannot comment on a student’s medical condition,” Miksch said. “We can confirm the student’s family was notified.”

The incident comes at a time when fraternity life — particularly in Pennsylvania — is under a microscope.

In February, 19-year-old Timothy Piazza died from injuries sustained when he fell down a flight of stairs during an alcohol-fueled pledge event at Penn State University’s Beta Theta Pi house. Fraternity members did not seek help for Piazza for 12 hours.

More than two dozen people are facing criminal charges in Piazza’s death, and a grand jury report in the wake of his death indicated a “shocking apathy” to the dangers of excessive drinking among Penn State officials. The report pointed to numerous assaults, injuries and alcohol-related emergencies at fraternities over several years.

In November, Penn State’s Alpha Sigma Phi house was cited after police discovered a woman slipping in and out of consciousness outside the house. The 19-year-old said she’d gone there for her birthday and was served about five vodka drinks.

The house was cited for serving alcohol to someone who is underage.

Ben Schmitt is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7991, or via Twitter at @Bencschmitt.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.