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Fraternity Suspended After Alcohol-Related Death

Sam Houston State University has suspended the Omega Delta Phi fraternity for at least three years for violations of the university's Code of Student Conduct prior to the alcohol-related death of a student who had attended a fraternity party.

The fraternity will lose its recognition as an organization at Sam Houston State University, effective immediately. The earliest they can petition the Student Organization Board to request reinstatement will be the fall of 2008.

The fraternity is prohibited from using university facilities, sponsoring any activity, participating in campus affairs, or accepting new members or pledges.

The sanctions were taken after a joint investigation was conducted by Jason Warren of the SHSU Office of Judicial Affairs and the Huntsville Police Department. The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission was also involved.

The investigation found that Noe Sandoval, 19-year-old sophomore criminal justice major from Harlingen, died Sept. 16 in a one-vehicle accident after consuming alcohol at the fraternity's bid day party. His blood alcohol content was more than four times the legal limit.

John Yarabeck, interim dean of students, announced the sanctions after representatives of the organization appeared during a student disciplinary hearing Nov. 10.

"It is regrettable that sanctions of this severity needed to be taken against the Omega Delta Phi chapter," said Yarabeck.

"However, it is paramount that members of our student organizations understand that failure to follow risk management guidelines as listed in the Student Guidelines will not be tolerated at Sam Houston State University," he said.

"In a worst case scenario such as this particular incident, the poor choices group members made which enabled minors to consume alcohol at a party they hosted directly contributed to the most tragic of consequences to one of their own members."

Yarabeck said the following Student Code of Conduct rules were violated:

            Conduct that significantly endangers the health and safety of other persons;

            The organization must comply with federal and state law with respect to alcohol consumption;

            All social events where alcohol is present must be served by a licensed third party vendor;

            No organization members shall purchase or provide alcoholic beverages for those under 21 years of age; and

            Open parties (unrestricted access) without a specific invitation where alcohol is present are strictly prohibited.

            Yarabeck said the fraternity cooperated in the investigation and commended them for their community service activities prior to the accident.

—END—

SHSU Media Contact: Frank Krystyniak
Nov. 17, 2005
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Writer: Jennifer Gauntt
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