- ALCOHOL, DROWNING — A FRATERNITY BANNED
- ADVISOR LIABILITY — THE UNIVERSITY PERSPECTIVE
- PRACTICAL ADVICE FOR FRATERNITIES CAUGHT IN THE BATTLE FOR FREE SPEECH ON CAMPUS
Newsletter > September 2004 > "ALCOHOL, DROWNING — A FRATERNITY BANNED"
ALCOHOL, DROWNING — A FRATERNITY BANNED
Tim Burke, Manley Burke, email@example.com
In the early morning hours of Sunday, April 4, 2004, Brent E. Johnson drowned in Cedar Lake. The lake, not very far from the Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (SIUC) campus, was the site of a weekend camping trip by the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity Chapter. Johnson was a pledge of the Pikes.
Johnson and another pledge had decided to canoe on the lake at about 4:00 in the morning. The water temperature of the lake was estimated to be 42 degrees, which, according to the Jackson County Sheriff, Robert Burns, could have been “a very significant factor” in the drowning.
Subsequently, SIUC charged the Fraternity with violations of numerous university alcohol policies. One member of the chapter was charged with giving alcohol to Johnson, a minor, before he drowned.
Immediately after the incident, the Chapter was “temporarily suspended.” That temporary suspension became permanent when, following a hearing, Katherine Sermersheim, the Director of SIUC Student Development, found the Fraternity responsible for eight separate violations of the University’s alcohol policies. Sermersheim told The Daily Egyptian, the campus newspaper, that entering into her decision was the fact that the Fraternity had four other infractions in a ten-year period, three of which included alcohol, and had engaged in hazing activity earlier in the year. (Hazing was not a factor in Johnson’s death.) According to Sermersheim, “these violations are very serious and thus require serious consequences.” The decision banning the Fraternity was not appealed.