Willem Golden passed away after falling from the roof at University of Delaware Sigma Pi fraternity house.
With any devastating circumstance, questions mount – how does a community prevent future tragedies and who should be held responsible?
University of Delaware’s unofficial Sigma Pi house offers a text-book example of potential code violations, including broken glass, dangling electric cords, and a barbecue grill strapped outside a third-story window. And while over 1,000 fraternities in the International Conference have gone dry, Sigma Pi isn’t one of them.
Douglas Fierberg – a nationally acclaimed wrongful death attorney representing clients who have sued universities, national fraternities and local chapter members for alcohol-related student deaths – tells delawareonline:
“Even if a party is held at an off-campus unofficial fraternity house, the hosts and the organization may still be liable. These organizations need to be rendered safe, there is no excuse for not intervening.”
Fierberg represented the family of Brett Griffen, the University of Delaware student who died as a result of alcohol poisoning in 2008. The Griffen’s brought suit against University of Delaware calling for its Greek life websites to list all violations against fraternities and sororities. Despite the attainment of policy change at University of Delaware, Fierberg urges families to remain cautious:
“Colleges and universities continue to publish vague information – if they publish it at all – about fraternity interactions, including deadly hazing rituals and sexual assaults. We’re still facing significant problems because most universities refuse to tell the truth about student deaths at Greek organizations.”
School Violence Law offers our deepest condolences to the Golden family during this difficult time.