Death Attends Another Frat Party

By May Wilkerson 10/10/12

A Theta Chi pledge's death from "acute" drinking is only the latest tragedy in Greek life.

A vigil held for Philip Dhanens last month
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Brotherly bonding took a dark turn when Philip Dhanens, a Theta Chi pledge, drank himself to death during a fraternity hazing ritual last month. According to court documents released today, frat leaders forced the 18-year-old Fresno State freshman and 14 of his "brothers" to down multiple bottles of vodka, tequila and rum—and they were banned from leaving the room until they'd finished. "The pledges were encouraged to drink, socialize and bond with each other despite their age," states the warrant. Dhanens' blood-alcohol level was measured at 0.36 (4.5 times the legal driving limit) at the time of his death, which occurred from brain swelling due to "acute alcohol consumption." The Fresno State chapter of Theta Chi has been suspended, and fraternity officials haven't been available for comment. Dhanens' death is just the latest in a growing list of grizzly alcohol-related incidents, injuries and fatalities stemming from Greek life and its drinking rituals. In the last year alone, Sigma Alpha Epsilon was sued over the death of a Cornell sophomore, and Sigma Chi was sued by the parents of a girl who died from binge drinking at a frat party. Pi Kappa Alpha at the University of Tennessee was recently “suspended indefinitely”: one member was hospitalized after allegedly "butt chugging" wine.

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May Wilkerson is a writer, comic and Managing Editor @someecards. Co-host of the podcast Crazy; In Bed w/alyssalimp. She is also the top Google result for "insufferable lunatic." Follow this insufferable lunatic on Twitter.