(October 12, 2012) – The Theta Chi National Fraternity, with the support of its local alumni leadership, has informed Fresno State that it has revoked the charter for its Fresno chapter.
On Sept. 2, Phillip Dhanens, an 18-year-old Fresno State freshman, died after drinking alcohol at the fraternity’s off-campus house two days before.
Fraternity national representatives and alumni of Fresno’s Beta Upsilon chapter informed Dr. Paul M. Oliaro, vice president for student affairs, and Dr. Carolyn Coon, the dean of students, of the charter revocation before announcing it to current members at a meeting Friday, Oct. 12.
“Fresno State concurs with this action by the national organization of Theta Chi,” Oliaro said. “Given the severity of this tragedy and the circumstances that are coming to light, it is the appropriate course of action.”
The Fresno County Coroner’s Office reported that Mr. Dhanens’ blood-alcohol level was 0.36 at the time of his death and that an autopsy determined he had swelling of the brain as a result of his alcohol consumption. Fresno Police are investigating to determine what happened and who was responsible.
Fresno State placed the local Theta Chi chapter on interim suspension Sept. 1 pending receipt of the police investigation report. Then, the Division of Student Affairs, which oversees student organizations, will conduct its own review for possible sanctions against individual student members found responsible for breaking laws or violating university policies
The national organization had also placed the chapter on suspension immediately after the tragedy occurred in the local chapter’s house, west of the Fresno State campus. Fraternities and sororities are private independent organizations of students, some of whom live together in chapter houses near campus.
Oliaro also announced that Coon, as dean of students, will conduct a comprehensive review of the fraternity and sorority system’s policies, procedures and risk management practices. “Such a review is done periodically to help improve the Greek system, but we hope this review will also to help avoid a reoccurrence of the tragedy at Theta Chi last month,” Oliaro said.
Coon has begun the process of forming a review committee of faculty, staff, students, alumni and law enforcement.
More information is available at www.thetachi.org.