The University of Missouri has proposed disciplinary sanctions against 13 students stemming from an October 2021 hazing incident that resulted in an Eden Prairie man suffering severe brain injuries.
In a Thursday, May 5, news release, the university called those proposed sanctions “an important first step” in its investigation of the incident resulting in the alcohol poisoning of freshman student Danny Santulli, 19.
The incident occurred during the early hours at the now-closed Mizzou chapter of Phi Gamma Delta (also known as Fiji) house.
Santulli, an incoming fraternity member, was found in cardiac arrest inside a car at University Hospital on Oct. 20, 2021. His blood alcohol was more than five times the legal limit for driving.
The 2021 Eden Prairie High School graduate remains in a Colorado rehabilitation facilty under medical care.
According to the news release, the university police department has forwarded information about the incident to the Boone County prosecutor’s office, and a criminal investigation is continuing.
Privacy laws prevent the university from providing details about disciplinary decisions. However, it added that university sanctions can be severe, including suspension or expulsion.
Those sanctioned by the university have the opportunity to appeal.
The university police investigation revealed that significant amounts of alcohol were consumed during a social event involving current and potential recruits of the fraternity.
“Safety of the Mizzou community is our highest priority, and we must address alcohol use and other concerns in holistic ways to provide education and services that work together to support safer behavior and an overall culture,” said Mun Choi, University of Missouri president.
It is also conducting a review of campus behavior, especially related to alcohol consumption, drug use, hazing, and sexual misconduct.
“The Healthy Communities Initiative, which is our review of campus behavior, our national partnerships, and the conversations I am having with students and our alumni, are all aimed at preventing situations like this from happening again,” said Bill Stackman, vice chancellor for student affairs.
The Mizzou chapter of Phi Gamma Delta was found responsible for multiple violations of MU’s Standard of Conduct during the events on Oct. 20. The university withdrew recognition of the chapter as a student organization through its conduct procedures, and the Fiji house was closed.
A lawsuit was filed against 23 defendants by Santulli’s family earlier this year. The suit alleges that pledges to the fraternity were expected to drink an entire bottle of alcohol as part of a fraternity tradition, the Columbia Missourian reported in February 2022.
Santulli’s family has settled with 20 of the 23 defendants in the lawsuit against the fraternity, according to a May 5 story in the Columbia Daily Tribune.