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Death at Maryland prompts fraternity closure

After a University of Maryland-College Park freshman apparently drank himself to death, the national Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity decided to close Maryland's local chapter over the weekend.

Prince George's County, Md., police and university officials are continuing their investigation behind the untimely death of 19-year-old Daniel Reardon, a freshman from Northwest Washington, D.C.

Reardon was found unconscious in the fraternity's house in the early morning hours of Feb. 8, after participating in the fraternity's bid night festivities.

Officials at Maryland say they do not have enough evidence in the Reardon case to warrant any action on their part.

"The university has not taken any action at this point and not made specific statements regarding the chapter. Once the case has concluded, then we can move and take actions," said George Catcart, director of communications at Maryland.

The investigation so far has discovered Reardon was put on life support at a local hospital, but his family decided to take him off after a week.

Members of the University's chapter of Phi Sigma Kappa expressed concern about the closing of a neighboring chapter, but they said the closing will not affect their house.

"I don't think they're going to do anything too radical," said Vince Gaiani, a fourth-year College student and former Phi Sigma Kappa president. "If anything happens, so be it. We don't have problems with alcohol, so I don't think they'll do anything."

Aaron Laushway, assistant dean of fraternity and sorority life, said because the University has had a relatively clean record in the past, any disciplinary action is unwarranted at this point.

"Unfortunately, these events are commonplace. Fortunately, they aren't too common here," Laushway said.

But he cautioned that University fraternities continue to be scrutinized.

"Should a situation occur at the University that mirrored the University of Maryland's, a similar procedure would be followed," he said. "And if it was determined that the fraternity was responsible for a student's untimely death, then serious consequences would follow"