Former student's death prompts call for answers: Sources say alcohol involved
A representative of the national Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity was in Moorhead Tuesday investigating the death of a local chapter member. Furthermore, a former president of the Minnesota State University Moorhead chapter called for answers in the de...
A representative of the national Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity was in Moorhead Tuesday investigating the death of a local chapter member.
Furthermore, a former president of the Minnesota State University Moorhead chapter called for answers in the death of Jason James Reinhardt, who was found dead Monday in a residence used by local fraternity members.
Moorhead Police Lt. Robert Larson said Tuesday that autopsy results, including toxicology tests, were not available. A day earlier, he said police were investigating Reinhardt's death, including his whereabouts and who he may have been with before his death.
On Tuesday, Larson refused to elaborate on what caused Reinhardt's death, who officers may have talked to or the investigation's scope.
However, police sources said alcohol played a role in Reinhardt's death.
Reinhardt, who was an active fraternity member until he left MSUM last year, turned 21 on Monday.
Phi Sigma Kappa members declined to comment when contacted Tuesday at the chapter's home, 611 10th St. S.
Kathy Cannady, interim executive director at Phi Sigma Kappa headquarters in Indianapolis, said the national fraternity's director of finance and administration, Matt Van Wie, was in Moorhead Tuesday looking into the incident.
"We are furthering our investigation and are not prepared to release a statement," she said.
Standards established by the national fraternity forbid chapter members from "providing drinks to those who are visibly intoxicated, encouraging intoxication from alcohol abuse, and encouraging activities or actions ... where intoxication would render such activities or actions dangerous."
If members or chapters violate the standards, the national fraternity may take actions ranging from a warning to removal of the member or chapter from membership in the fraternity.
Brian Gramer, a former president of the local Phi Sigma Kappa chapter and a former Moorhead City Council member, said Tuesday the public has a right to know what happened to Reinhardt.
"We need to find out the answer to why something like this could happen," said Gramer, 32, who served as president of the MSUM chapter during the 1993-94 school year.
When he took over as president of the local fraternity, Gramer said he was concerned about alcohol use.
"As the president, I was liable for things that happened. I was pretty unpopular because I put an end to all parties," Gramer said.
"College in general is a time when kids tend to experiment with alcohol and, unfortunately, they sometimes make poor decisions," Gramer said.
On Tuesday, he recalled escorting a fraternity brother with a drinking problem to treatment to make sure he attended the meeting.
"I don't think that's a reflection on the fraternity, that's a reflection on college campuses," Gramer said.
Students who knew Reinhardt were given the opportunity to meet with a grief counselor on campus Tuesday, said Warren Weise, MSUM's vice president for student affairs.
Members of Reinhardt's family issued a statement thanking community members for the concern they have shown.
"Jason was a beloved son and brother and will be missed dearly," the statement read.
Reporter Mike Nowatzki contributed to this article. Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555