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Greek Life investigation continues, student still in serious condition
Ben Peyton / Senior Staff Writer
The serious injuries sustained by accounting junior Dustin Starks in the early morning hours of a party at the Delta Sigma Phi house last month have spurred strong reactions across the board.
Police and Emergency Medical Services responded to a 911 call around 4:30 a.m. on Jan. 26 to find that Starks had fallen from a stairway railing of the fraternity house. He is in serious condition according to the Dallas Morning News.
The UNT police then began an 11-day investigation that resulted in issuing seven arrest warrants on the grounds that minors were allegedly supplied with alcohol.
Starks, whose 21st birthday is a little over a month away, had been drinking alcohol at the time of the incident, according to the warrants issued by Denton County.
Furnishing alcohol to a minor is a class-A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine that doesn’t exceed $4,000.
Only one of the seven remains unaccounted for as of Monday. The other six voluntarily turned themselves in.
A press release issued on Feb. 7 stated that alcohol is banned from all greek life events indefinitely while a review by an assembling Task Force lead by Dean of Students Maureen McGuiness is intended to promote safe and legal alcohol use, said Deborah Leliaert, vice president of the University Relations Communications and Marketing.
The Task force will consist of faculty, greek life advisors and greek students, and McGuiness is evaluating any code of conducts violations personally, according to a UNT press release.
The division of student affairs has the power to lift the ban.
Despite the situation, some members of the greek life community are coming forward in support of UNT’s decision mentioning that drinking is not the central focus.
“I see it as something that can be construed in a very positive light and I think that’s the way most of my colleagues and my own brothers in the greek life community see it,” psychology senior Sean Waters said.
Waters, the vice president of scholarship at the The Interfraternity Council (IFC), the governing body of 15 fraternities including Delta Sigma Phi, spoke for the group by saying that the IFC fully supports UNT’s decision to ban alcohol at greek life events.
“I think it will help the greek community more than it will hurt it,” Waters said.
Morgan Ray, Zeta Tau Alpha and applied behavior analysis senior, said that the resulting ban of alcohol as a result of the incident involving Starks was actually only one of a few alcohol related incidents in the greek community the last couple of years.
From September to November 2012, four fraternities were placed on probation as a result of furnishing alcohol to minors.
There are 39 Greek Life organizations and about 1,400 members
“The greek community at UNT contributes in important ways to the campus culture of academic commitment, leadership, service, personal development and pride,” said Elizabeth With, vice president for student affairs. “We need to continue to help students in Greek organizations understand that’s their organization’s focus,”