5-year suspension for FIJI
University says the suspension is the result of several violations
Ryan Tubongbanua / The Collegian
With the support of the Interfraternity Council, FIJI is planning to appeal their suspension. Here, FIJI member Robert Porks, alumni advisor Mike Licari and IFC President Kevin Roche discuss the organization's status.
By Katrina Garcia
After uncertainty over the fate of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, the Division of Student Affairs announced Tuesday that FIJI will be suspended from official recognition by Fresno State for at least five years as a result of alcohol-related incidents that violated university policy.
“The chapter at this time is no longer a part of the university,” Carolyn Coon, Executive Director of Student Life, said. The loss of recognition is the second most severe restriction that could be administered by the university, the most severe sanction being a lifetime ban.
The loss of recognition means the fraternity cannot represent itself as being affiliated with the university, recruit members under the fraternity name, receive student funding from the university and may not have access to campus facilities or participate in university activities.
Four other sanctions were also issued against the fraternity, with limitation including that it may not reorganize as a student club or organization at the university during the suspension. And if recognition is granted after the suspension is lifted in 2011, FIJI must permanently remain alcohol-free.
A review of the fraternity cited several incidents involving alcohol access to minors resulting in hospitalization, citations, requests for emergency treatment and the death of former Fresno State student Danny Daniels, Jr.
Robert Hernandez, Fresno State’s Executive Director for Federal Programs and Judicial Affairs Officer, prepared the report for the Student Affairs Office and Coon.
Daniels, 19, was at the FIJI house Jan. 7 and found dead the next day. An autopsy confirmed he died of alcohol poisoning, with a blood alcohol level of .34.
A lifetime ban was not issued to the fraternity, Coon said, in hopes that future students can reinstate it.
Coon said we don’t want to take away the opportunity for the fraternity to be a positive experience for students in the future.
Kevin Roche, president of the Interfraternity Council, said FIJI would be appealing the university’s decision. The appeal will go directly to Paul Oliaro, the vice president for student affairs and Dean of Students, and he will make the final decision whether or not to uphold the suspension. Coon said a decision on the appeal should be made by the end of next week.
Roche said his organization supports FIJI and its decision to appeal the suspension but cannot be active in the appeal process.
“We’re doing everything we can to help them,” Roche said.
Coon said that although fraternities and sororities do charitable work, when something negative occurs the community thinks poorly of students and the organizations.
“How do we put the positive out there when the negative happens?” Coon said. “We don’t want an image of the population of students for the community that’s negative. Most of the students in Fresno State don’t participate in this kind of behavior.”
Coon also expressed concern over alcohol education on campus and hopes the IFC will look into making changes. Coon said overall alcohol education has been successful, despite the recent tragedy.
“Even when you look at all the things we’ve done in terms of awareness and alcohol education, you think, ‘Where did we miss?’” Coon said. “Because I think we’ve done a good job.”
Oliaro said Coon, with fraternities and sororities, are working on a plan to prevent future incidents like that of FIJI’s from happening at other student organizations.
Sam Kamal, IFC Vice President and a member of FIJI, said that although the fraternity is suspended, members of FIJI still plan to continue living in the house and do philanthropic work.
“The brotherhood we have here is something no one can take away from us,” Kamal said.
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