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MU leaders' emails show chaotic 28 hours after fraternity alcohol overdose, student protests

MU leaders' emails show chaotic 28 hours after fraternity alcohol overdose, student protests

Editor‘s note: A freshman hospitalized with alcohol poisoning Oct. 20 at MU’s Phi Gamma Delta fraternity house has been upgraded to serious condition at University Hospital, spokesperson Eric Maze said. This story examines a trail of emails university leaders sent to each other in the hours after his hospitalization. The Missourian is not identifying the student, who isn’t charged with a crime, and has redacted his name from documents cited in this story.

Just after 9 p.m. Oct. 20, more than 200 people gathered outside the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity house near the University of Missouri campus to protest..

An 18-year-old freshman had just been hospitalized after a social event at the fraternity, commonly known as “Fiji,” prompting a temporary ban of all other fraternity activities. The protestors were angry. They felt that the university had not done enough to protect students from many other reports of alcohol-related trouble in Greek life during the early weeks of the fall semester, including reports of drugged drinks.

Protestors gather outside of Phi Gamma Delta

Protesters gather to protest outside of Phi Gamma Delta on Oct. 20 in Columbia. Over 200 students attended the protest, organized in the wake of a student’s hospitalization due to alcohol poisoning.

MU spokesperson Christian Basi watches an interaction between a protestor and the police

MU spokesperson Christian Basi watches an interaction between a protestor and the police during a protest outside of Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity on Oct. 20 in Columbia. Earlier in the night, the protestor had been banging on the door of the fraternity house. The same day as the protest, Basi provided links to news stories about fraternity-related deaths on other college campuses to MU administrators internally preparing for the chance that the hospitalized student might die.

A police officer watches protestors at Phi Gamma Delta

A police officer watches protestors Oct. 20 at Phi Gamma Delta in Columbia. According to emails sent between MU officials, administrators were concerned that the protest might send a nearby residence hall into lockdown.

  • Washington Correspondent. Work funded by the Stanton Foundation. Get in touch on Twitter @byEliHoff, email to hoff.eli@outlook.com or in the newsroom at (573) 882-5720.

  • I am a city editor at the Missourian and an assistant professor at the Missouri School of Journalism. I help students develop, report and write their stories for publication.

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