Forum editorial: Arrests put fraternity on hot seat
The arrests of nine people in connection with the death of Patrick Kycia suggests authorities are serious about stemming the illegal sale and use of alcohol. Kycia, a Minnesota State University Moorhead student, drowned in the Red River several d...
The arrests of nine people in connection with the death of Patrick Kycia suggests authorities are serious about stemming the illegal sale and use of alcohol. Kycia, a Minnesota State University Moorhead student, drowned in the Red River several days ago after drinking heavily at fraternity party in Moorhead.
All but one of those arrested are listed as MSUM students. All but one are listed as members of Phi Sigma Kappa, the off-campus fraternity where Kycia is said to have been drinking before wandering several blocks to the river.
The charges include felony sale of liquor to a minor resulting in death, gross misdemeanor charges of selling alcohol without a license and procuring alcohol to a minor under age 21.
The speed of the investigation and subsequent arrests confirm at least two things.
E The community has had just about enough of underage drinking that results in death or near-death situations. Kycia's death, followed by several reports of dangerously intoxicated students, stimulated a rapid official response.
E Where there's smoke there's fire. That is, the weekend arrests were concentrated on a fraternity house with a reputation as being anything-goes party central. In addition to being known for its booze-lubricated parties, a resident of the house was arrested last week and charged with preparing hallucinogens for sale, after a search of the house found illegal drugs.
It would be na?ve to conclude that one fraternity house is the cause of Fargo-Moorhead's underage drinking problem. A few arrests and even shutting down of the house won't solve the larger problem. But the situation at the house that was revealed by Kycia's death and the weekend arrests should be an eye-opener for the community.
The fraternity was operating outside the law and in violation of its own code of conduct, apparently comfortable it could get away with it. Indeed, the house had been getting away with it until Kycia's death put the the fraternity in the spotlight. An incident last year in which a young man died after drinking alcohol at the fraternity clearly did not prompt members to change their ways.
Maybe now - since the evidence against frat members appears overwhelming - the executive of the Grand Chapter of the fraternity will remove his blinders. Michael Carey said in a prepared statement shortly after Kycia's disappearance and death that chapter members did not provide Kycia with drugs or alcohol. He's not commented publicly since. Then again, given the fraternity's conduct, we don't expect much.
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