UM fraternity's charter is revoked after death

Alcohol violations found by national chapter

February 26, 2002|By Alec MacGillis | Alec MacGillis,SUN STAFF

The national headquarters of Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity has revoked the charter of its University of Maryland chapter in response to the death Feb. 14 of freshman Daniel Reardon, who was found unconscious at the fraternity the morning after celebrating his admission to the chapter.

Tom Recker, executive vice president of the Grand Chapter of Phi Sigma Kappa, said yesterday that suspension of the charter came after an internal investigation by his office.

"Our board of directors found sufficient violations of our risk management policy involving alcohol to warrant that action," said Recker, who visited the Maryland chapter Saturday to issue the revocation. "We certainly have clear standards and expectations of our chapters, and when those expectations are not met, we have the wherewithal to suspend them."

University spokesman George Cathcart said Phi Sigma Kappa members must vacate the chapter's Georgian house on Fraternity Row within two weeks as a result of the charter revocation.

The house's estimated 30 members will be referred to the commuter affairs office for help finding off-campus housing, Cathcart said.

Phi Sigma Kappa's suspension is the fourth revocation of a fraternity charter at Maryland in the past four years, Cathcart said. The university did not suspend the charter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, the fraternity where junior Alexander Klochkoff was found dead last fall.

Klochkoff's death was later attributed to the party drug GHB.

The suspension means that the Maryland chapter is disbanded, and that its members "are not allowed in any way, shape or form to function as an undergraduate group or any kind of organization," Recker said.

It is possible that the fraternity, one of the nation's oldest, could return to College Park, Recker said.

"We hope, given the right circumstances, to recolonize in the future," he said.

Gary Kaufman, president of the Maryland Phi Sigma Kappa chapter, did not return calls seeking comment yesterday.

Reardon, 19, was found at the fraternity house not breathing and without a pulse early on the morning of Feb. 8, the day after "tap night," when the fraternity extended invitations to new members, including Reardon.

Reardon, a Washington native, was in a coma for nearly a week before his family took him off life support.

Reardon's family has said it believes excessive drinking led to his death.

Cathcart said that police continue to investigate the death and are awaiting autopsy results.

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