A sobering reality

Document Sample
A sobering reality Powered By Docstoc
					                                                                                                                               The student voice since 1904

                              THURsday, may 12, 2011                                                                                                                                                   volUme 123 issUe 152

                                                                                                                                                                      a sobering
                                                                                                                                                                      two years after Jason Wren’s death, what has changed?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                by garth sears

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               photo illustration by Howard Ting/Kansan

                      hen he discusses drinking, tragedy and lawsuits with                                      Oliver Hall. Five months later, he told his father he had to move out
                      people nationwide, Dave Westol gets rapt attention by                                     for violating undisclosed rules.
                      flashing a picture of grim young men in dark suits and                                       Jay Wren said he called the Department of Student Housing to ask
      ties — their hands folded. Their heads bowed.                                                             why his son had to leave, but a representative told him that infor-
          The picture shows the funeral of 19-year-old University of Kansas                                     mation was confidential because of the University’s privacy policy.
      freshman Jason Wren, who was pronounced dead from alcohol                                                 According to a court filing by SAE’s lawyer, Jason was kicked out
      poisoning on March 8, 2009, in his fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon.                                       for repeatedly violating the University’s alcohol policy. Because it
          “I throw that slide up, and the audience inevitably becomes silent,”                                  was mid-semester, he had nowhere to live. The filing said Wren was
      said Westol, a former chief executive officer of the national Theta Chi                                   able to pledge SAE through a friend and immediately move into the
      fraternity and now an official for the Fraternal Information and Pro-                                     house.
      gramming Group, a nonprofit that educates Greeks nationwide on                                               Diana Robertson, director of Student Housing, said in an email
      risky behaviors and legal liabilities.                                                                    that — in addition to increased emphasis on alcohol education —
          Before Jason Wren died, he was best known for his big heart and                                       the department has changed its policy. It now notifies parents when
      fun-loving nature. He was outgoing. He was athletic. He played for                                        a student’s housing contract is canceled because of alcohol or drug
      the KU lacrosse club.                                                                                     violations.
          But since his death, Wren is better known for how and where he                                           Jay Wren told The Kansan that his son had downplayed his write-
      died. His name has taken on a national and local role as an attention-                                    ups — that a resident assistant found a shot glass, and later a beer can,
      grabber for experts like Westol and a wake-up call for universities. He                                   in his room, and that he had been seen holding a beer can for a friend
      is just one student among grim statistics that show significant alcohol                                   while the friend used the restroom.
      abuse among college students — especially those at the University of                                         Reading about that claim in a Kansan story brought back memo-
      Kansas — and even more abuse among fraternity members nation-                                             ries for the resident assistant on the other side of that incident. Since
      wide.                                                                                                     Wren didn’t live on the RA’s floor, the RA hadn’t yet realized he wrote
                                                                                                                up the freshman whose death dominated newspaper headlines.
                                                BEFORE                                                             “I don’t feel guilty about it at all, but I feel like a part of the chain
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Contributed photo
        Jason Wren died in a fraternity, but he spent most of his time at the                                   of events that caused this to happen,” he said, speaking on condition
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Jason shares a moment with his sisters Katie, left, and Victoria. Wren graduated from araphoe
      University elsewhere.                                                                                     of anonymity.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  High School in Littleton, Colo., in May 2008. Victoria committed suicide about 10 months after
        In August 2008, his freshman year, he moved onto the first floor of
                                                                                                                                            see wren on page 5a                                   Jason’s death.

What do you think?

                                                                                                                                                                              What will you remember most
                                                                                                                                                                                  about this semester?                                                        Libraries
      by janene gier |
                                                                                                                                                                          What would you most like to remember?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              stay open 24
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              hours a day
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             by Chris hong

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  University of Kansas libraries
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               are open for extended hours to
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               accommodate students studying
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               for final exams.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Extended hours began May 8
         lEigh ann BakER                                     ashlEy PETERsOn                                         TaylOR hOvORka                                          DillOn Davis                                                                      and will continue through the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 ERic ROwlanDs
            Topeka senior                                 wichita graduate student                                  Overland Park senior                                   Topeka freshman                                                                     end of finals week. Watson library
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Manhattan junior
“I think I’ll most remember when                       “I helped bring in a speaker for                         “I want to remember I that                        “I’d like to remember all of the                                                             will operate until 3 a.m. on week-
                                                                                                                                                                                                         “Probably filming the ‘Gates
I got into grad school. What I                         the group I’m involved with,                             came here and did what I was                      new experiences I’ve made, and                                                               days and 10 p.m. on weekends.
                                                                                                                                                                                                         of Summer,’ because that was
want to most remember is why                           Intervarsity. So that was really                                                                           friends that I’ve made, and how                                                              Anschutz will be open 24 hours
                                                                                                                supposed to, or did what I                                                               really weird. It’s a larping event
my education is important to                           an experience to actually prac-                                                                            much better my life has be-                                                                  a day and will have extended
                                                                                                                planned on doing in the four                                                             and I went there to film it for                       checkout periods until midnight.
me. I have something to do with                        tice bringing someone in and                             years, which is really important                  come after this first year at KU.
                                                                                                                                                                                                         documentary and that was                              Spahr library will be open 24
my life now. I’m going some-                           he spoke on the myth of moral                                                                              I’ve learned a lot of new routes,
                                                                                                                to me. It seems really real and                                                          pretty crazy. Larping is live-                        hours a day between Sunday and
where. A step further - in a direc-                    neutrality. It’s kind of, what the                                                                         which places to avoid, which
                                                                                                                I feel like it’s been forever. My                                                        action role-playing and so it                         Friday.
tion. I was worried about jobs                         importance of morals are in our                                                                            ways to get to class quicker,                                                                   In addition to the extended
                                                                                                                time is up and I’m ready to                                                              was like 200 people who were
and now with the grad program I                        society in relation to faith and                                                                           what buildings are which, what                                                               hours, there will be free coffee
                                                                                                                move on. I’m definitely ready                                                            dressed up like characters in
got into, which is library science,                    academia. I think it’s interesting                                                                         kinds of classes to expect, the                                                              and hot chocolate in Anschutz
                                                                                                                for the real world. I’m excited to                                                       costumes and battle armor and
I’ll be able to get a better job in a                  to see that sometimes our soci-                                                                            places in town that I know are                                                               and Watson libraries every night
                                                                                                                get paid for all the hours I put                                                         stuff, and getting drunk and
very specific field.                                   ety is very much like, ‘whatever                                                                           good, places to eat. I’m just                                                                between Monday and Thursday
                                                                                                                in every day.”                                                                           fighting each other. “                                of finals week from 10:30 to 11
                                                       floats your boat, works for you.’                                                                          going to be that much more
                                                       It was interesting for me to hear                                                                                                                                                                       p.m. The Hawk Stop at Anschutz
                                                                                                                                                                  prepared for next year.”
                                                       that you could still have a moral                                                                                                                                                                       will be operating 24 hours a day
                                                       stance while still being in a                                                                                                                                                                           during finals week as well.
                                                       diverse society.

     InDeX                                                                                                            WeaTHeR                                                               gRaD guIDe | InsIDe                                        jayplay | InsIDe
     Classifieds. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8A       Opinion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6A
                                                                                                                                                                                            leaving Ku                                                 Three students
                                                                                                                       92 70
     Crossword. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7A         Sports. . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . 10A
     Cryptoquips . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7A          Sudoku. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7A
                                                                                                                                                                                            See inside for a list of                                   share their
              All contents, unless stated otherwise, © 2011 The University Daily Kansan                                Forecasts by KU students. For a complete
                                                                                                                       detailed forecast for the week, see page 2a.
                                                                                                                                                                                            graduates                                                  extreme stories
                                                                                                                                                        KAnSAn.COM / THE UNIVERSITY DAILY KANSAN / THURSDAy, MAy 12, 2011 /                                                          NEWS / 5A

                                                                                                                                KANSAN FILE PHOTO                                                                                                                                          Contributed photo
Kim Richter, KU Medical Center associate professor of preventive medicine, middle, speaks next to Mason Tvert, executive director of Safer             This photo taken of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon house was used in the lawsuit against the fraternity. Jason Wren was found dead in the SAE house on
Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation, back, and KU Public Safety Sgt. James Anguiano during a panel discussion on how to prevent alchohol deaths       March 8, 2009.
sponsored by the Drug Policy Forum of Kansas at the Hawk’s Nest on April 9, 2009. The panel was called in response to the death of Jason Wren.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            In the two years since wren’s death:
wrEN (continued from 1A)                                                                    the adviser board for KU SAE, but
                                                                                            she expected it to go further.
                                                                                                                                                       funds, then by supplying it to
                                                                                                                                                       underage pledges. As a result, 22                         n Wren’s family sued the KU SAE chapter, 10 of its members,
                                                                                               Alan Fischer, KU SAE president,                         active members were expelled from                      the corporation board that owns the house and the national SAE
   He said during security rounds                 KU chapter showed numerous and Chaz Rumage, organizer of the                                         the house.
on the night he wrote Wren up, he                 violations of rules and policies second Jason Wren Initiative and a                                                                                         fraternity. The lawsuit was settled last week and the settlement
came across a group of five to 10                 regarding underage consumption former KU SAE officer, agreed to                                                                                             forbids either side from disclosing details, such as the amount of
                                                                                                                                                               NO UNIVERSITY
people who did “the whole scatter                 of alcohol and “providing alcohol be interviewed for this story but                                                                                         money awarded to the Wrens.
thing.” Then came his encounter                   to a visibly intoxicated member” backed out when Stacy, the chap-                                                                                              n The tragedy that began with Jason’s death continued with
                                                                                                                                                          A young man died after a night
with Wren, who he said was stand-                 on the night of Wren’s death.             ter adviser, told them that after the                      of too much drinking when no one                       the suicides of his younger sister and mother. His older sister and
ing in the corner of the hallway                      The lawsuit also said that as settlement they couldn’t publicly                                  in the SAE house called for help.                      father are the only living immediate family members.
holding a can behind his back.                    punishment for those violations, comment on Wren or the Wren                                            Within a month, the university                         n Lawrence police investigated but filed no criminal charges.
   “I said, ‘Dude, what do you got?’”             the KU chapter was required to Initiative, despite previous inter-                                   he attended shut down the chapter                      The University investigated for possible hazing but didn’t punish
he said.                                          pay an increased risk management views with the media.                                               for at least five years. Members had                   the chapter. The national fraternity investigated but said it didn’t
   The RA said Wren told him                      (insurance) premium and was                  “If it’s under the heading of                           less than two weeks to vacate the                      find evidence of criminal actions, while the Wren family lawsuit
he was holding the beer can for a                 strongly encouraged to implement Jason Wren, we don’t talk about                                     SAE house.                                             insisted that it did.
friend in the restroom. The RA re-                at least one semester of alcohol-free that,” Stacy explained, speaking for                              When you telephone the house                           n The KU SAE chapter agreed to host the Jason Wren Initia-
plied that he would have to write                 living.                                   the KU SAE chapter and its house                           now, you hear this: “The number                        tive for six years. It’s an annual program where speakers discuss
him up anyway. He said he thought                     The house hosted an alcohol- corporation.                                                        you have dialed is not in service.”                    alcohol abuse. But six days before the first one in April 2010,
the can was Wren’s, and either way,               free concert a month and a half              “Our legal counsel advised us                              But that student wasn’t Jason
he seemed drunk.                                  after Wren’s death, and Jay Wren not to comment on the Jason Wren                                                                                           the national SAE fraternity busted its KU chapter for supply-
                                                                                                                                                       Wren. His name was George Des-
   “I wouldn’t say he was screaming               publicly asked for SAE to become case, or events surrounding the                                                                                            ing its underage members with alcohol and expelled 22 active
                                                                                                                                                       dunes. He attended Cornell Uni-
at me, but his voice was definitely               an alcohol-free fraternity in mem- case,” Kristin Wing, chair of the                                                                                        members.
                                                                                                                                                       versity and died in February.
elevated in frustration and anger,”               ory of his son. The fraternity did KU SAE adviser board, wrote in an                                                                                           n The University has changed its policies: it now notifies
                                                                                                                                                          Officials from both Cornell and
he said. This was the second se-                  later change some alcohol regula- email.                                                             the University of Kansas caution                       parents when students have alcohol- or drug-related violations,
mester, so his violations were add-               tions, but it still allows alcohol in        SAE national officials failed to                        against direct comparisons, given                      requires incoming students under 22 to complete an online
ing up. “He knew he was in a lot of               the house.                                respond for comment to requests                            the differences — the University of                    alcohol education course before they can enroll, eliminates
trouble at that point. So that prob-                  In a deposition in the Wren law- for interviews.                                                 Kansas is public. Cornell is private;                  campus chalking by bars and others who are not registered with
ably added to his anger.”                         suit, Frank Ginocchio, the general           Jay Wren said it was a mistake                          Kansas is in the Midwest. Cornell is                   the University, has an amnesty policy for underage students that
   He said he wrote up Wren only                  counsel and director of risk man- for him to allow his son to live in a                              an Ivy League school in New York.                      allows them to avoid punishment for drinking when they call for
once, but heard about him from                    agement for the national fraternity, house with drinking, and he’s out-                                 Travis Apgar, associate dean of                     help and introduced a new responsible-drinking campaign for
the RA assigned to his floor. He                  said that about two years before spoken against underage members                                     students at Cornell, said in an email                  students.
heard that Wren was a genuinely                   Wren’s death the national frater- of any fraternity living in a house                                that Cornell SAE was in a school-                         n The joint alcohol policy of the KU Interfraternity Council and
nice guy.                                         nity considered, but voted down, a where alcohol is openly served.                                   owned house, but that is not what                      Panhellenic Association — the umbrella organizations for most
   “It was just that, whenever he got             ban on alcohol                                                    With       an                      allowed the university to ban them
alcohol in his system, it just made               consumption.                                                                                                                                                KU Greek chapters — remains unchanged.
                                                                                                                 undisclosed                           for five years. Rather, Cornell uses
him a different person,” he said,                     Ginocchio
“like it does with everybody.”                    said he recom-
                                                                         “You know that we rarely                amount        of                      a recognition policy with fraterni-
                                                                                                                 damages        at                     ties. Greek houses recognized as
   Wren’s trouble at Oliver high-                 mended the             remove someone from KU                  stake, he no                          university organizations are subject
                                                                                                                                                                                                          such a form for the night of Wren’s                were being made to the Intrafrater-
                                                                                                                                                                                                          death, so the University didn’t con-               nity Council and Panhellenic’s joint
lights that his problem began be-                 KU       chapter       housing at all — rarely.                longer criti-                         to Cornell rules and punishment
                                                                                                                                                                                                          sider it an official function.                     alcohol policy. But no substantial
fore drinking at SAE, but it does                 become a dry
beg the question of why the frater-               house       after      Didn’t that send a red flag in cizes from his
                                                                                                                            SAE,                       when rules are broken — whether
                                                                                                                                                       they are on-campus or off-campus,
                                                                                                                                                                                                             “Unfortunately, the media —                     changes have been made.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          back when this hit — didn’t care to                   As late as a month ago, the post-
nity would welcome a new pledge                   Wren’s death.          somebody’s mind?”                       desire to have                        in a university-owned house or
                                                                                                                                                                                                          know the difference between a reg-                 ed policy was dated 2007. After of-
with that history.                                He said he                                                     SAE become                            otherwise.
   Reuben Perez, director of the                  spoke directly                             REUBEn PEREz                                                                                                 istered chapter event and a bunch                  ficials of both organizations were
                                                                                                                 an alcohol-free                          The University of Kansas has no
Student Involvement and Leader-                   to John Stacy,                      Director of the Student                                                                                             of students hanging out,” said Reu-                questioned for this story about
                                                                                                                 house.                                such policy. All Greek houses at the
ship Center, said when he got the                 president of            Involvement and Leadership Center                                                                                               ben Perez, director of the Student                 promised changes, a new policy
                                                                                                                    “The con-                          University are off-campus on pri-
call informing him of Wren’s death,               the KU SAE                                                                                                                                              Involvement and Leadership Cen-                    was posted online and backdated
                                                                                                                 tract      with                       vate property. Many, such as SAE,
he wanted to know why SAE ac-                     house corpo-                                                                                                                                            ter, which oversees the Greek Life                 to March 23, 2010.
                                                                                                                 SAE said that                         are owned by a corporation board
cepted somebody who already had                   ration and adviser to the chapter.                                                                                                                      office. “That particular night, most                  Amy Long, associate director
                                                                                            it didn’t allow underage drinking                          that oversees the chapter.
been kicked out of University hous-                   “They didn’t feel it was the right in the house,” he said in an email,                                                                              of the chapter wasn’t even present.”               of the Student Involvement and
                                                                                                                                                          From the University’s perspec-
ing for drinking.                                 thing to do at the time,” Ginoccio “and I believe they are now enforc-                                                                                     “I know, in the eyes of the world,              Leadership Center, said Monday
                                                                                                                                                       tive, a fraternity is simply one of
   “You know that we rarely remove                said. “I think they felt that their ef- ing that clause as there were many                                                                              it was like we were trying to cover                the changes made were only gram-
                                                                                                                                                       the 637 student organizations reg-
people from KU housing at all —                   forts educationally and in the me- students expelled out of the house                                                                                   something,” he said.                               matical in nature.
                                                                                                                                                       istered. It can only face punishment
rarely,” he said. “Didn’t that send a             morial service would be enough.”                                                                                                                           Roney said that if a fraternity                    “The document is currently un-
                                                                                            last spring. I’m very pleased to see                       for things that happen at its official
red flag in somebody’s mind?”                         While the Wren family lawyer, this change.”                                                                                                         didn’t file the form for a planned                 der review for the future, as is good
                                                                                                                                                       events. Hazing is the only violation
                                                  Steve Gorny, said the settlement                                                                                                                        event, the University could still                  practice, and we anticipate changes
                                                                                               He also said he was pleased that                        the University can look at when it’s
                AFTER                             forbade further release of testimony SAE was continuing the Jason                                                                                       investigate whether the event ap-                  in the near future,” she wrote in an
   Shortly after Wren’s death, the                in the depositions, one of his early Wren Initiative.                                                                                                   peared to be sponsored by the fra-                 email.
                                                                                                                                                          The University investigated SAE
national SAE fraternity said in a                 filings quoted Ginocchio as saying                                                                                                                      ternity — and therefore, an official                  J.M.     Angotti,    IFC       vice
                                                                                               “It’s my hope that SAE KU con-                          for hazing but did not impose sanc-
public statement that it had closed               SAE chose not to ban alcohol “in tinues to carry on this initiative and                                                                                 function subject to rules.                         president of risk management,
its investigation into the chapter                part because it was too harsh of a that the house decides to eventually                                                                                    “Everything we were able to                     said in a statement, “Both IFC /
                                                                                                                                                          “The other factor that is signifi-
and found no criminal actions or                  punishment and out of concern one day be dry and thrive, alcohol                                                                                        learn about what happened that                     PHA councils and the advisors
                                                                                                                                                       cant to the discussion is whether
negligence by the organization, the               that the collegiate members would free,” he wrote.                                                                                                      night at SAE was that there was no                 understand that the Joint Alcohol
                                                                                                                                                       or not it was an official function,”
chapter or its respective members                 choose to rent another property                                                                                                                         official function going on,” she said.             Policy needs to be changed and are
                                                                                               Despite the house’s educational                         Marlesa Roney, vice provost for
that led to the death.                            and the House Corp. would lose its efforts, KU SAE was busted again.                                                                                    “It was just an individual or two,                 currently working to re-write the
                                                                                                                                                       student success, said.
   “We believe this is a very unfor-              tenants.”                                                                                                                                               sitting around drinking.”                          document.”
                                                                                               Just six days before the debut                             Days before any event, a Greek
tunate, isolated incident,” it said.                  SAE did commit to hosting the of the Jason Wren Initiative, the                                                                                        Although Wren did not die dur-                     He said that IFC and PHA offi-
                                                                                                                                                       chapter must submit a form to the
   But the Wren family’s lawsuit                  Jason Wren Initiative for six years, national SAE fraternity said its KU                                                                                ing an offical function, in Janu-                  cers want it done before the end of
                                                                                                                                                       University, specifying a guest list,
said SAE correspondence between                   including the two already past, ac- chapter violated alcohol policies,                                                                                  ary 2010 then-IFC president Jake
                                                                                                                                                       availability of alcohol, security and
the national fraternity and its                   cording to Kristin Wing, chair of first by buying alcohol with chapter                               safe transportation. SAE did not file
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Droge told The Kansan changes                             SEE wren ON PAgE 6A

     A 2005 report by the National Institute
     on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
     reported that there are:

                   500,000 injuries,
         600,000 assaults and
                more than
        sexual assaults
                            of U.S. college students each
                                  year related to
                                              alcohol.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   KANSAN FILE PHOTO
                                                                                                    Several hundred students and family friends gather in front of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon house in 2009. The fraternity held a memorial service for Jason Wren, then a freshman from Littleton, Colo.,
                                                                                                    who was found dead in his bedroom on March 9, 2009.
6A / NEWS /               thurSdAy, MAy 12, 2011 / THE UNIVERSITY DAILY KANSAN / KANSAN.COM                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     KANSAN.COM / THE UNIVERSITY DAILY KANSAN / thurSdAy, MAy 12, 2011 /                          NEWS / 7A

     in the aftermath of jason wren’s death
                                  February 28, 2009                                                                        March 8, 2009
                the date Wren                                                                     Jason Wren was found dead                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           November 1, 2010
                told his father,                                                                  around 2 p.m. in the SAE
                Jay, that he had                                                                  fraternity house. According
                to be out of Oliver                                                               to his autopsy report, his
                hall, Jay previ-                                                                  blood alcohol concentra-                                                                                                                                                April 10, 2010
                ously told the                                                                    tion was .362 when he died                                                                                                                                              the national SAE
                Kansan. “Jason                            Howard Ting/KANSAN
                                                                                                  – more than four times the                                                                                                                                              fraternity busted its                                                                                                                                                                       May 6, 2011
                Wren was a freshman at the university of Kansas when                              state’s legal limit to drive,                                                                                                                                           Ku chapter for buying
                he was kicked out of his dormitory, Oliver hall, for                              .08, for people over 21.                                                                                    November 12, 2009                                           alcohol with chapter
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        the Wren lawsuit’s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     settlement was made
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    April 12, 2011
                                                                                                                                                                       Howard Ting/KANSAN
                repeatedly violating the university’s alcohol policy.                                                                                                                                      the Wren family filed a lawsuit                                funds and supplying                                                                                                                                                                        official when papers
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Contributed Photo
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          alcohol to minors six
                Because it was mid-semester Wren had no where to live.
                through a friend, Wren was able to pledge the Sigma
                                                                                                                                                                                                           against the national SAE fraternity,
                                                                                                                                                                                                           its Ku chapter, the house corporation                          days before the debut                 June 15, 2010                                                                           Howard Ting/KANSAN
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       SAE hosted the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     second annual Jason
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     were filed with the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     county courthouse
                Alpha Epsilon Fraternity and immediately move into the                                                                              April 27, 2009                                         that owned the Ku chapter, and 10                              of the Jason Wren
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Mary Wren, Jason’s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              mother, committed suicide
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               the university unveiled its new responsible-                          Wren Initiative.                and the pending law-
                Chapter house,” a lawyer for SAE wrote in a court filing.                                                                                                                                  unnamed members of the chapter.                                                                                                                   drinking campaign, the Jayhawk Buddy System.                                                            suit was dismissed.
                                                                                                                                              the chapter hosted a sober concert
                                                                                                                                              in honor of Wren, with more than a
                                                                                                                                              hundred in attendance.

                                                                                                             March 16, 2009                                                                                                                                                                                                                      October 27, 2010
                                                                                                     Wren’s funeral was held in Littleton, Colo., with                                                                                                                                                                       Jeffrey Wilson sends the Kansan a letter to the editor
                                                                                                     nearly a thousand people in attendance.                                                                                      January 10, 2010                                                                           on behalf of SAE saying the fraternity has improved.                                                                       April 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 the Interfraternity Council
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        the day the                                                                                                                                                                                                              and Panhellenic Association
                                                                                                                                                                              May 5, 2009                               denver Post                                                          April 16, 2010                                                                                                                                      Joint Alcohol Policy, originally
                                                  March 7, 2009                                                                                                  the university announced an updated
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        published the                                             SAE hosted the first annual Jason Wren Initiative.                                                                                                             dated in 2007, was changed
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        obituary of Jason
                                 Wren used a
                                 fake Id to buy
                                                                                                                                                                 alcohol policy, with increased parental                Wren’s younger                                                                                                                                                          April 5, 2011                                    and backdated to March 23,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 2010. the changes were only
                                                                                                                                                                 notification when students have drug                   sister, 16-year-
                                 margaritas from                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      the Wren family lawyer, Steve Gorny, said that             “grammatical in nature,” and
                                                                                                                                                                 or alcohol violations, an amnesty policy               old Victoria,
                                 a local restaurant,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  the lawsuit had been settled, although the official        “no substantive changes were
                                                                                                                                                                 allowing underage students who have                    who committed
                                 and then had 10                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      papers hadn't been filed with the courthouse.              made to the policy in the last
                                                                                                                                                                 been drinking to call for help without                 suicide.
                                 to 12 beers and                                                                                                                                                                                                      Contributed Photo                                                                                                                                                                          two years,” Amy Long, the as-
                                                                                                                                                                 being punished, and a new requirement
                                 hard liquor in the                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              sociate director of the Student
                                                                                                                                                                 that incoming students under the age of
                                 SAE house, his                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Involvement and Leadership
                                                                                                                                                                 22 complete an online alcohol-education
                                 father, Jay, told                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Center, wrote in an email.
                                                                                                                                                                 course before enrolling in classes.
                                 the Kansan after
                                 Jason’s death.

                                                                                                                  Contributed Photo                                                                                                                                                                                            Jessica Janasz/KANSAN

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Additionally, incoming students
                                                                                                                  WREN (continUed from 5A)                                                              under the age of 22 must take Al-
                                                                                                                                                                                                        coholEdu, an online alcohol educa-                                         Jason Wren through the eyes of a fraternity brother                                                                                                      Study: KU students drink more than
                                                                                                                 the semester, but chapters have to vote
                                                                                                                 on it first.
                                                                                                                                                           rules, and her national sorority’s rules
                                                                                                                                                           at once — but that she was reminded
                                                                                                                                                                                                        tion course, before they can enroll in
                                                                                                                                                                                                        classes.                                                                    An excerpt from the article “A staggering tragedy” by reporter Alex Garrison in April 28, 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            average American college student
                                                                                                                                                           by Panhellenic Association officials             “I don’t think anyone’s going to say,
                                                                                                                    GREEK LEGAL LIABILITY                  that legal liability didn’t end there.       ‘Oh, I loved taking it,’” Roney said, “But
                                                                                                                    Dave Westol, a national expert on         “If it wasn’t a sorority function, but    there is national research that shows                                        “Every time I hear somebody say he had                             just college,” the freshman said. “We drink. you                                     A 2006 study by the National
                                                                                                                 fraternities and their legal liabilities, a bunch of us went to a bar together,        that it is one of the best tools available,                                a drinking problem, I just want to scream,                           binge drink, you drink to get drunk. It’s what
                                                                                                                 has experience with prosecutions and and something bad happened to one                 other than one-on-one counseling.”                                         because Jason Wren did not have a drinking                           I do, that’s what everybody does, that’s what                                        College health Assessment
                                                                                                                 lawsuits.                                 of the girls,” Davis said, “all it would
                                                                                                                    He was a prosecutor before he be- take is one of the girls’ parents to get
                                                                                                                                                                                                            The University also enacted an am-
                                                                                                                                                                                                        nesty policy for underage students.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   problem,” the 2009 SAE freshman said on the                          Jason did.”                                                                          surveyed students from 117 col-
                                                                                                                 came the chief national executive of the national sorority involved, because           They will not be punished for drink-                                       condition of anonymity.                                                 he said Jason did not have a problem,                                             leges across the nation, including
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     he said he felt people looked for a simple                         because he did not need to drink but rather
                                                                                                                 his fraternity, Theta Chi. And he’s she was with all her friends from the
                                                                                                                 been the director of policy interpreta- sorority.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                        ing when they call for help, either for
                                                                                                                                                                                                        themselves or for a friend.                                                answer to Jason’s death, but that it was an “un-                     chose to drink because of the culture.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             more than 1,500 Ku students.
                                                                                                                 tion at the Fraternal Information and        She said regulations for official             “If you do the right thing and get                                     fortunate accident” — the result of the kind of                         “By the books, yes, he had a drinking prob-
                                                                                                                 Programming Group — a non-profit functions could be difficult to follow.               help, then we’re not going to come after
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   drinking that was common at the university.                          lem,” he said. “I mean, I have a drinking prob-                                      It found that 21 percent of Ku students report-
                                                                                                                 fraternity insurance advising group She gave the example of a sorority                 you,” Roney said. “For some students,
                                                                                                                 — since 1995.                             hosting an event at a bar on Massa-          that can be a deterrent. We wanted to                                        “People want to blame the fraternity, people                       lem. Every single kid here probably has a                                           ed drinking five or more drinks at once, three to
                                                                                                                    During his 18 years as Theta Chi chusetts Street, while following the               take that off the table.”                                                  want to blame him, but it’s not that at all — it’s                   drinking problem.”                                                                  five times within the previous two weeks...
                                                                                                                 CEO, Westol had members die and he IFC and PHA requirement that the                        The University now bans campus
                                                                                                                 suspended chapters for bad choices. host chapter provide transportation                sidewalk chalking by entities not reg-
                                                                                                                 He knows it doesn’t take much to get to and from its event.                            istered with the University.                                                                                                                                           consumption for students under 21,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     KU SAE officer who helped organize one of his online comments reacting
                                                                                                                 sued.                                        “You’re not allowed to drive and              “The only reason we changed the                                                                                                                                    because if I do that, I’m encouraging
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     this year’s Jason Wren Initiative, asked to stories about Jason’s death, calling
                                                                                                                    “I told our men, ‘six or more, it’s meet us later, because that’s a liability.      chalking policy was we were trying to                                                                                                                                  people to break the law. Sometimes I
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     the crowd some tense questions last himself “DenverDad” on,
                                                                                                                 going to be an event,’” Westol said. And you can’t leave with anyone else,”            stop the bars from chalking on cam-                                                                                                                                    feel like our hands are tied behind us
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     month as he introduced the event’s he wrote:
                                                                                                                 “If you’ve got alcohol,                                             Davis      said.   pus,” Perez said.                                                                                                                                                      because we know what’s happening,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     speaker.                                         “Why do we let our children, under-
                                                                                                                 and there’s more than                                               “People want           He said it was part of the Univer-                                                                                                                                 but we can’t really deal with it.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        “How many times have you gone age, sleep in a house that has open al-
                                                                                                                 a few people, it’s going     “Think twice about it and              to walk down       sity’s effort to reduce the presence of                                      out to get blackout drunk? How many cohol and no adult supervision? It was                   University officials have suggested
                                                                                                                 to be a chapter event,                                              the street, but    alcohol.
                                                                                                                 whether you like it or
                                                                                                                                              ask yourself, ‘How do I                you can’t let          “It reduces access to students,” he
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     times have you carried a friend home the biggest mistake in my life.                      one idea for Greek underage drinking
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     from the bar? Did you ever laugh at              “The law doesn’t allow anyone un-        — and Greek liability in general: no
                                                                                                                 not.”                        want this to play out?’”               them. You have     said.                                                                        him, put him to bed, and say “He’s der 21 to be in bars after 10 p.m., but                in-house alcohol, and maybe even no
                                                                                                                    Westol speaks from                                               to drive back          For when students decide to be in                                                                                                                                  in-house parties.
                                                                                                                                                               ChAz ruMAGE                                                                                                           going to feel that                                                it’s OK for them to
                                                                                                                 the fraternity’s per-                                               to the house,      the presence of alcohol, the Univer-                                                                                                                                      All of KU’s sorority houses are dry.
                                                                                                                                                            Former SAE officer                                                                                                       tomorrow?                                                         be in ‘sleeping bars’
                                                                                                                 spective, as in trying                                              and then drive     sity has established a new responsible-                                                                                                                                Most fraternity houses are not.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        “These are all                                                 called fraternities?
                                                                                                                 to avoid lawsuits. The                                              back to Mass.      drinking campaign for its students                                           things we thought
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               “Sometimes I feel like our                  “YES, I made           “From a risk management perspec-
                                                                                                                 more it looks like the                                              if you want to     called the Jayhawk Buddy System. It                                                                    hands are tied behind us                                        tive, that just amazes me,” Roney said.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     the night Jason                                                   mistake of going to
                                                                                                                 fraternity was involved                                             do that.”          focuses on students sticking together                                                                                                                                     She used to be an officer for a
                                                                             KANSAN FILE PHOTO                                                                                                                                                                                       passed         away,”     because we know what’s                  bar with my son the
Mary Wren hugs her daughter Victoria during the reception of Jason Wren’s funeral in Littleton,                  — which might mean a larger number           Westol said taking on a Greek affili-     when they drink, making sure that ev-                                                                                                                                  sorority’s corporation board, and said
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Rumage           said.                                            weekend before he
Colo. Nearly a thousand people attended the service, including about ten KU students. Both Mary                  of members present — the worse it is ation meant additional responsibili-              eryone is safe.                                                              “Think twice about        happening, but we can’t                 died, the weekend       she would be “very, very reluctant” to
and Victoria Wren committed suicide after Jason’s death.                                                         for them legally. While the University ties and legal liabilities. “That’s one of          “We are firm believers that when
                                                                                                                 didn’t punish SAE after looking at the the things you give up” when you join           Jayhawks take care of each other,”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     it and ask yourself,      really deal with it.”                   I helped him move.      serve as a corporation board officer for
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     ‘How do I want                                                    YES, I made an er-      any house that allowed alcohol.
                                                                                                                 drinking surrounding Wren’s death, a fraternity, Westol said. “You have                Roney said, “that will make a big dif-                                                                                                         ror in judgment            Perez said more national fraternities
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     this to play out?’”                       MArLESA rONEy
                                                                                                                 his family could and did sue.             to follow the policy. Now if you don’t       ference.”
       Relevant organizations in Greek Life                                                                         The Wren family’s lawyer, Steve want that, drop out of your organiza-                   In February, during a timeout in
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        He paused.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        “So, the serious
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Vice provost for student success      that it would be
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       okay for Jason to be
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               are banning house parties.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  “If we had a no-party-in-house
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ...compared to the national average of 11 percent.
                                                                                                                 Gorny, made a compelling enough tion, be released from your vows, and                  the men’s basketball game against the                                                                                                          in a fraternity …       community, I’d be thrilled,” he said.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     part being said,
    Interfraternity Council (IFC): the governing board for 21 frater-                                            case that SAE and its lawyers were you can have all the keg parties you                University of Missouri, a full section of                                                                                     “I have not had a drink since the        “I’m good with that.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     we’re also here to have a good time.”
                                                                                                                 willing to settle. But under the terms want and nobody’s going to care.”               students performed a flash mob, break-                                                                                                                                    But only a fraternity, its corporation
    nities, most of the fraternities at Ku. It is composed of members                                                                                                                                                                                                                   He flipped on a pair of sunglasses, day I heard of Jason’s death. Why can’t
                                                                                                                 of the agreement nobody can publicly                                                   ing out into a choreographed dance for
    from various fraternities, and every fraternity has a representa-                                                                                                                                                                                                                black with neon orange framing. The fraternities change? Why can’t the Uni-               board, or the national fraternity has
                                                                                                                 say how much the Wrens received in                POLICY CHANGES                       a minute and a half, and then took off                                       audience snapped to life, laughing.           versity change?”                            the power to change a house’s alcohol
    tive vote in decisions. It can sanction fraternities for IFC policy
                                                                                                                 the settlement.                              In the two years since Wren’s death,      their shirts to reveal red Jayhawk Bud-                                                                                       Jay Wren said then he is against
    violations.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         “We all like to have fun, and we all                                                   rules. The University and its officials
                                                                                                                    In most cases, the chapter’s liabil- the University has made several poli-          dy System shirts.                                                            like to drink, and the reason we’re here 21-year-old students and underage                don’t.
                                                                                                                 ity insurance, which would pay any cy changes.                                             It drew thunderous applause at Al-
    Panhellenic Association (PHA): the sorority counterpart to                                                                                                                                                                                                                       is not to tell you ‘Don’t drink.’ The rea- students living under the same roof in
                                                                                                                 settlements or judgments, is attained        “I think the University focused           len Fieldhouse. The YouTube video of
    the IFC, the PhA is the governing board for 13 sororites, most of
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     son we’re here is to tell you to drink University housing and at fraternities.              AN INFLUENTIAL DEATH
                                                                                                                 by the national fraternity. The nation- even more closely on alcohol after             it, posted by Kansas Athletics, Inc., re-                                                                                     While Perez doesn’t draw the line at
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     responsibly.”                                                                                Jason Wren’s death shook his fam-
    the sororities at Ku. the IFC and PhA have joint meetings every                                              al SAE fraternity is insured through Jason Wren passed away,” Roney said.              ceived more than 300,000 hits.                                                  The second Wren Initiative high- 21, he does think freshmen shouldn’t                  ily, SAE, the Greek community and
    semester, and the two organizations have a joint alcohol policy                                              James R. Favor and Company, based “It gave us a sense of urgency — we                      The second Jason Wren Initiative in                                      lighted the prickly issues in trying to live in fraternities.                             the University. After his death, his
    that all IFC and PhA organizations must follow.                                                              in Denver.                                really need to address this now.”            April ended with KU SAE members                                                                                               “I think that’s a mistake,” he said.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     reach college students — especially the                                                   16-year-old sister, Victoria, and moth-
                                                                                                                    According to its website, the com-        Under the new rules, if the University    handing out items with the Jayhawk                                           underaged — with responsible-drink- “The Greeks know I think that, and                    er, Mary, both committed suicide. The
    Sigma Alpha Epsilon: the national fraternity was founded in                                                  pany was bought in 2006 by several becomes aware of an alcohol- or                     Buddy System logo: a string-pull                                                                                           I’m not popular with that view. The
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     ing messages.                                                                             Greek community is still trying to
    1856 at the university of Alabama. It is the largest social fraterni-                                        national fraternities. One of them drug-related violation through official             backpack, a koozie, a cup, a bottle                                             One can point to Wren’s death and women don’t allow it, and they’re do-                adapt its policies. The University in-
    ty in North America with more than 280,000 initiated members.                                                was Sigma Alpha Epsilon Financial & notification, such as a police report, it          opener with a small light, a poster and                                      say it means that underage drinking ing very, very well.”                                 troduced more alcohol education and
                                                                                                                 Housing Corporation.                      notifies the parents of the student. The     a business card holder with a SafeRide                                                                                        Regardless of Greek involvement,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     shouldn’t be tolerated. Another can                                                       awareness. Maybe these changes will
                                                                                                                    Samantha Davis, who used to be Department of Student Housing will                   card inside.
    KU SAE: the Ku chapter of the national SAE fraternity. Jason                                                                                                                                                                                                                     say it means that the underaged need the underage question can get compli-                save a life. Maybe these changes aren’t
                                                                                                                 her sorority’s social chair and vice now notify parents when a student’s
    Wren, a pledge, was found dead in the chapter house. the                                                                                                                                                                                                                         the most help with safe-drinking edu- cated for the University.                           enough. For Jason Wren, changes don’t
                                                                                                                 president of risk management, said housing contract is canceled because                      RESPONSE TO                                                            cation.                                          Roney said, “I am unable, as a
    house, located at 1301 West Campus road, is owned by the Kan-                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              matter.
                                                                                                                 that parties at KU could be exhaust- of alcohol or drug violations, which                 UNDERAGE DRINKING                                                            Before his son’s death, Jay Wren ad- University administrator, to design
    sas Alpha house Corp., which also advises fraternity members.                                                ing to plan — she had to account was not policy when Wren was kicked                      More than a thousand people were                                          mitted that he knew Jason drank. In programs that focus on healthy alcohol                                   — Edited by Lisa Curran
                                                                                                                 for her chapter’s rules, the PHA’s out of University housing.                          silent while Chaz Rumage, a former

Shared By: