One dead student and a drug raid wasn’t enough for the University to shut down the Phi Sigma Xi fraternity, but maybe now that an underage girl has been hospitalized as a result of one fraternity’s illegal activity, the University will come to their senses. Shut down the fraternity.
Phi Sigma Xi, or ‘PHIG,’ has a muddled history. The frat’s house at 72 Center Street had a full-on drug raid resulting in multiple drug arrests in 2011, and the University hit the frat with a wrist slap, suspending their operations for a year. In May 2014, student and Phi Sigma Xi brother Alex Davis, 20, died of an overdose on a lethal mix of cocaine and fentanyl on their couch, and just this past weekend an underage female was hospitalized as a result of drinking to the point of alcohol poisoning at a ‘date party’ hosted by the fraternity.
At this point the official statement from the University spokesperson David Irwin, Media Relations Director is as follows:
“The college is still awaiting official information on the incident from the Geneseo Police Department. At this time, Phi Sigma Xi fraternity is an active student organization. Institutional action may be taken pending the receipt of additional details about this incident.”
It’s not like you see this organization volunteering in the community. It’s not as if these young men are pitching in to plant trees on Earth Day. There are some outstanding greek organizations in Geneseo, and Phi Sigma Xi is not one of them. The PHIGS have been responsible for three highly dangerous and criminal incidents within the past five years: the drug raid, a member’s death from drugs, and now the hospitalization of an underage student from alcohol. This should be enough to finish the campus-recognized Greek organization for good.
Parents are not sending kids off to SUNY Geneseo to end up dead on a frat couch or hospitalized from alcohol poisoning. They are sending them here for the outstanding, safe education that most students are receiving.
SUNY Geneseo tries to present itself as the Ivy School of the SUNY system, but it cannot be so when you have a dead student as a result of an overdose on a frat couch one semester, and an underage girl rushed to the hospital with alcohol poisoning the following semester when the same fraternity sponsors a ‘date night.’
Sadly, it’s likely is we are only going to see more alcohol-related incidents like this, and it is not only because the University has failed to appropriately punish the fraternity. It has everything to do with a certain popular bar recently shutting its doors.
I was working late Friday night writing up High School Sectional playoff results for our site. As I locked my office up and turned off the lights, I noticed something: Main Street was desolate. What in years past has always been a fever of energy almost looked like a ghost town.
One of the services offered by the recently shut down ‘In Between’ was that underage kids could come there to dance. They weren’t served booze but they at least could go out and get that club atmosphere locally. The reality is that the under age kids would binge drink somewhere else and go to the club and dance – but they were dancing off the booze – and not continuing to binge drink. After the bar shut down, kids would pile into the pizza and sub shops and then safely back home.
Now when you take that bar away, it leaves them without the break from booze and likely not to eat any food either. For those of us not to far removed from those days, you can see the danger.
Yesterday marked the sixth anniversary of the tragic death of SUNY Geneseo student Arman Partamian, 19, who died of alcohol poisoning after a three-day period of hazing. That fraternity, dubbed the ‘Pigs,’ had already been banished from campus in 1996 after two students were hospitalized with alcohol poisoning from drinking, and was fully dissolved after the death of their new member.
It’s sadly ironic that at the same time the University should have been holding a ceremony of remembrance and awareness on the dangers of binge drinking, a young girl was getting her stomach pumped of a near fatal dose of booze.
The University has an obligation to give the ‘PHIGS’ the same treatment as the ‘Pigs,’ both of whom chronically and seriously injured their students. Hopefully, another establishment can fill the IB’s shoes and offer underage kids a safe place to play, because if either of those two things don’t happen, we will be soon again burning another life before it even had a chance to get started.
PHOTO CAPTION: The ‘Phig’ house at 72 Center Street. (Photo/Josh Williams)
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