BU Today

Campus Life

Sigma Alpha Mu Suspended

Following ENG student’s death and reports of “severe intoxication”

126

The evening after the death on Saturday of freshman Anthony Barksdale II, a new member of the BU chapter of Sigma Alpha Mu (SAM), the fraternity was suspended by Sigma Alpha Mu’s national leadership, based in Indianapolis, Ind. Yesterday afternoon, the University also suspended the chapter, following what Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore calls “reports of underage drinking and severe intoxication” at an unregistered off-campus fraternity event.

Barksdale (ENG’16) was pronounced dead at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center after being transported from an apartment at 22 Wadsworth St. in Allston, where a SAM function had been held. Boston EMS responded to a call at that address shortly before 1 a.m. Saturday.

Elmore (SED’87) says his office was told on Saturday by Alex Cuetara (COM’13), president of the BU chapter, that someone had left a fraternity function severely intoxicated. Cuetara also told the staff member that the national organization had recommended suspending all activities of the BU chapter.

Elmore says he confirmed the SAM suspension with Leland Manders, executive director of the national organization, who told him the action was taken because of reports of intoxication at the party and concern that the fraternity “risk management” policies may have been violated. Elmore says risk management policies usually address such things as alcohol abuse.

Manders told Elmore that the Saturday event was “a meet and greet for new members,” and was attended by approximately 41 current members and 6 new members of the fraternity.

“We believe that there were a number of brothers making introductions to new members,” Elmore says. The off-campus private residence was rented by fraternity members, he says, and the event was not registered with the University.

Elmore says his initial investigation reveals that the fraternity conducted a function at which there may have been underage drinking and severe intoxication. “Based on that and the action of the national organization,” he says, “we have suspended the fraternity.”

Manders also told BU Today that the BU chapter was suspended because of a “concern about a risk management violation.”

“We need to find out what happened on Friday evening and determine if there was a policy violation and how bad that violation may have been,” says Manders, who met Monday afternoon with Elmore. “We will work in partnership with the University offices to determine if the chapter can continue in the future and under what circumstances it continues.”

Leadership of the organization is “very saddened by the loss of Tony Barksdale,” Manders says. “We are very concerned about our members. We want to help them through this very difficult period.”

The University’s alcohol policies have been discussed many times with the leadership of SAM and other leaders of the Greek community, Elmore says, and officers of SAM had attended bystander training taught by BU’s Sexual Assault Response & Prevention Center, which is intended to teach students how and when to intervene in several types of dangerous situations, including intoxication. Elmore and his staff have met at least 12 times, often individually, since the beginning of the academic year with the leaders of BU fraternities to discuss the responsible use of alcohol.

The University is cooperating with the Boston Police, which is investigating Barksdale’s death.

Barksdale, who lived in the Towers residence at 140 Bay State Rd., was a 2012 graduate of Souhegan High School in Amherst, N.H., where he earned the Coach’s Award for varsity basketball, a U.S. Marine Corps Scholastic Excellence Award, and a Humanities Award.

126 Comments
Art Jahnke

Art Jahnke can be reached at jahnke@bu.edu.

126 Comments on Sigma Alpha Mu Suspended

  • concernedstudent on 03.04.2013 at 7:44 pm

    can someone explain to me the positive reasons for which fraternities and sororities exist?

    • Joe on 03.04.2013 at 10:29 pm

      A Greek life student on average does more community service, raises more money for charitable causes, has a higher GPA, and is more likely reach the top tier of his or her chosen industry. Most of the US presidents in the past century were fraternity men.

      • Student5 on 03.05.2013 at 7:54 am

        Correlation, not causation man, take statistics.

        • RR on 03.06.2013 at 6:18 pm

          Then please explain what exactly causes those statistics. Because unless all those people have some unknown shared quality ASIDE from being in a Greek organization, it is causation.

          Greek organizations provide a coordinated organization for engaging in community service projects, a central support group for career support, and a direct source of aid for studying through study groups and rules governing GPA requirements. Those are direct influences provided by Greek organizations which CAUSE the differences. I find it laughable when non-Greeks pass judgment on Greek organizations when they in fact have no idea how the inner workings actually go on.

          The school made an incredibly presumptuous move by suspending this fraternity with out due diligence. They at least deserved some kind of hearing before such a decision was made.

      • Tom on 03.05.2013 at 8:31 am

        Most schools have a requirement to maintain a certain GPA to remain an active member of a fraternity. What happens is that, when a member falls below the threshold (lets say, 2.5 GPA), they are removed from the membership rolls (wink, wink), even though they continue paying dues and enjoying fraternity privledges (wink, wink).Voila, you are no longer counting any students with poor GPAs in your “average” for Greek members. Guess what? If you didn’t count poor students at all, the whole schools average GPA would go up, too!There may be some arguments in support of Greek organizations, but improved academic peformance is not one of them.

        • M on 03.05.2013 at 10:39 am

          Not true. When a member falls below the requirement, they are defined as a member who is in bad standing with the chapter. They are NOT removed from the membership roles. They are required to attend weekly study hours and meet with the Academic Chair to implement a study plan for improvement. If grades and GPA do not improve, privileges of voting during chapter meetings and attending social events are revoked.

          • M on 03.05.2013 at 10:41 am

            *rolls

          • Jacob AG on 03.05.2013 at 5:19 pm

            Right.

            The GPA requirements are not really requirements, and the punishments (like study hours) are not strictly enforced.

            More than anything else, the benefits of belonging to a fraternity, especially for failing students, are social. But it’s extremely difficult, if not impossible, to take those benefits away from a failing student, especially (as is often the case) a large fraction of the fraternity’s members have a low GPA.

            And taking away voting rights and the one formal social event at the end of the semester — if they are even truly revoked — are not strong motivators.

          • K on 03.05.2013 at 8:56 pm

            The enforcement of such punishments undoubtedly varies from chapter to chapter, but it is not nearly so difficult to take away voting and social privileges as you seem to suggest. Based off my own experience, I’d wager that most fraternities take the “bad standing” title (which a brother can also earn through not paying his dues or other various transgressions) quite seriously. When you’ve got a group of guys who all know each other, and all know who’s in bad standing, then keeping those in bad standing from voting or going to any social events that use chapter funding–formal or otherwise–really isn’t too difficult. As a result, such punishments are usually sufficient encouragement for the brother to either get his grades up/dues in/whatever, or else he (very rarely) is suspended or expelled from the chapter.

      • Jacob AG on 03.05.2013 at 5:13 pm

        I’ve actually been looking for data on Greek life involvement and variables like GPA etc. Can you share your data source?

        • M on 03.05.2013 at 6:52 pm

          The requirements ARE requirements, and I can assure you the punishments (at least in my sorority) are strictly enforced. A sister on academic probation is forbidden from voting and going to social events- of which there are many throughout the semester, not just formal. She literally cannot go to any social event involving the sorority. That cuts down on a significant amount of the social aspects you mention.

          It’s simple to take them away. If you do not perform, you do not get the same privileges as everyone else. If you do not improve, your membership in the organization itself can be called into question. That’s how it works.

          As for as motivators, taking away the social aspects- which are a part of Greek life -is a huge one. People who lost that privilege for a semester tried EXTREMELY hard (and succeeded) to exceed the requirement and had that privilege restored.

    • Austin on 03.04.2013 at 11:06 pm

      Charity, community, socializing, etc.
      We just often see the uglier side of things…

    • SMG Student on 03.05.2013 at 9:39 am

      You gain social skills from being exposed to people you otherwise likely would not. Being in a fraternity is the single biggest reason I believe I am successful today.

      You gain an incredibly large and ever growing group of friends that look out for your best interests rather then telling you what you want to hear because they know they will be life times friends.

      It also creates a connection to the school (which would otherwise be a huge and miserable place) that brings alumni back and creates donations.

      • Jacob AG on 03.05.2013 at 5:22 pm

        It’s very difficult for you to know who you would have been had you not joined your fraternity. Counterfactuals are tricky.

        • SMG Student on 03.06.2013 at 4:33 pm

          Agreed because of unknown variability.

          At the same time I can look at other students in similar situations who started out living with me freshmen year.

          I also made virtually all of my work related connections through my fraternity.

          While I could drop out of school and have a brilliant idea tomorrow an go on to found the next microsoft, it’s still a reasonable conclusion that I’d be better off with a degree. Using that same logic many of the opportunities opened to me by being in a Fraternity have made me life far better, where as I have shed almost none by joining it.

    • Parent on 03.05.2013 at 1:27 pm

      both sides are wrong and right, can we stop stereotyping and get real and deal with the issue rather than symantics

    • anonymous_nelly on 03.05.2013 at 2:23 pm

      The reason Greek Life exists is that, when the modern university developed, there were people coming from all over to a new place filled with people they did not know, So, fraternities and sororities were established to, both, provide new students with a strong connection of people that welcome them to this new stage of life while making them good men and women of society, and also make strides to advance their college and the lives of all the students there. If you look at the goals of all Greek Life organizations, those are their goals: to grow the members into men and women of great ideals while bringing honor to their universities and improving their community.
      What I’m trying to say, is that Greek Life is a wonderful thing and held very dear to those in the organizations. As for myself, I believe my fraternity has inspired the change in me to be all of those things. Now, this is not to say that ALL people in Greek Life do this, but to say that Greek Life should be thrown out the window is wildly short-sighted. There needs to be changes, but more of a return to the true goals of the organizations, not a dismissal of the institutions as a whole.

  • Student on 03.04.2013 at 7:48 pm

    They should just ban every sorority & frat. They’re so dumb. If they want to use the argument that they’re doing so much for community service, and some of them do a little bit, they could easily join the community service frats/sororities or (imagine this) the CSC. All BU gets from these social frats/sororities is more and more bad press.

    • Max on 03.04.2013 at 8:43 pm

      Do you honestly think that the existence of fraternities and sororities on campus are the problem with an instance like this? It is only logical that the situation in which a tragic occurrence like this would happen in would be the place that the largest number of people go to party; fraternity houses in Allston. Getting rid of these organizations would only lead to a more dispersed drinking environment in which there could be an even greater danger for students to drink in (not to bother adding students will statistically drink greater amounts in higher groups). The problem here seems to be much more BU’s intolerance of a social inevitability than their allowance of organizations that partake in it.

      • Max on 03.04.2013 at 9:12 pm

        Students will statistically drink higher amounts in smaller groups*

      • Liz on 03.05.2013 at 9:05 am

        To clarify, is the social inevitability you speak of the fact that students are going to drink, be it at Greek events or off-campus parties or small gatherings? What specifically is wrong with how BU is handling (underage and excessive) drinking? What could the University do better? Just curious.

        • Morgan on 03.05.2013 at 10:03 am

          if people are going to be drinking regardless then BU needs to accept it and work with organizations such as greek life to monitor and be aware of drinking. Look at schools where fraternities and sororities are affiliated. For parties such as Thursday night it would have been registered. Student police could have stopped by to monitor the situation and maybe see that a student was too drunk and needed to be sent to the hospital. BU should look at schools that have on campus greek life with programs that successfully decreased the drinking injury rate

    • Soph on 03.04.2013 at 8:52 pm

      No offense, but i find it very shallow to take such a tragedy like this and worry about Greek Life “giving BU bad press,” instead of mourning the death of one of our classmates.

    • Sorority member on 03.05.2013 at 4:13 am

      It is unfair to blame the entirety of greek life. This is a tragedy, and it was absolutely unintended by everyone involved. Greek life is a community, and needs to stand together in a time like this with the rest of the students at the university. Just because he was a member of a frat does not make him less of a human being. (and for the record, I can almost guarantee you I’m involved in more CSC events and programs than you, so please don’t pretend everyone involved in greek life is only involved in greek life. It’s insulting.)

    • Maya on 03.05.2013 at 8:26 am

      Though I do not partake in Greek life myself, nor do I really see its purpose, it’s a personal choice that people make and they are totally in their right to do so. Banning Greek life wouldn’t change the fact that people will drink and make stupid decisions. Tragedies like this happen regardless of the setting. Unfortunately, when it’s related to Greek life, people tend to get up in arms and blame it on hazing. However, hazing and extreme drinking happen outside of fraternities, too. Greek life shouldn’t be punished for the stupid decisions that an individual or a group of individuals make. If someone were to die at a concert because of severe intoxication, should music be banned, too?? I also think it’s very easy to write incendiary comments on these articles because you don’t have to attach your name to it and you can remain anonymous while insulting your peers and maybe even friends. Think about what you’re saying.

      • BU Parent of Sorority Member on 03.06.2013 at 9:18 am

        Well said, Maya! What happened is a tragedy! A parent’s worst nightmare! But to blame it on Greek life is absurd! As if drinking to excess only happens at sorority and fraternity parties! As if…..

    • GDIsenior on 03.05.2013 at 8:46 am

      I’m sorry, but you need to spend a little time reflecting on your statement and realize how absurd it is. I’m not in a frat, just on a club sports team, and I know as well as you do that excessive consumption of alcohol happens in the vast majority of social arenas at BU.

      You would have thousands of students immediately abandon groups that some have spent the past four years trying to better and foster. Just think of the outrage that would come of this, the bureaucratic nightmare that would ensue, and the inevitable long-term drain on BU’s student body (like it or not, greek life is an important factor in the college decision).

      I wouldn’t even say that the alternatives you’re offering to those whom you would displace are adequate substitutes. In my opinion, the philanthropy side of greek life is a positive externality to the institution, but far from the reason people join. I’m a firm believer that at a school as big as BU, a student should strive to become a part of a group or organization consisting of like-minded individuals; for many students at BU, greek life provides a sense of community and belonging, without the pressure of daily practices or rehearsals. Additionally, sororities and fraternities offer a certain amount of support while in school, but also (and most importantly) afterwards, while most other groups at BU don’t. Those are two of many reasons to join greek life at BU.

      I don’t think that tragedies like this stem from specific organizations or, as you would imply, from huge swaths of the student body, but from our drinking culture as a whole. The administration needs to continue taking steps to encourage drinking in moderation, instead of furthering the cycle of crackdowns leading to increasingly secretive and dangerous off-campus parties. Instead of targeting the students that would say “drink more”, BU as a whole needs to encourage, not vilify, those that would say “hey, maybe he shouldn’t have another”.

      What happened Saturday night is nothing short of a tragedy, the collective heart of the student body is going out to the family and friends of Anthony Barksdale; let us remember that as we continue to discuss this issue and remain respectful.

    • mdd on 03.05.2013 at 8:48 am

      You should really educate yourself before you decide you’re qualified to have an opinion on something you obviously know little about. Firstly, this tragedy should not be used as amo against the existence of Greek life. Secondly, what makes you think these instances don’t occur outside of Greek life? If glee club got a little rowdy and a member got hurt, should we throw them off campis? If an independent student died of similar causes would you vote to ban college? Your argument loses so much credibility when you’re that blindly biased.

  • MLASophomore on 03.04.2013 at 8:28 pm

    I am a member of a Panhellenic Sorority, and we are not allowed to have alcohol in our house, and any use of drugs results in automatic disaffiliation. My sorority holds me to a higher standard, it’s not just the community service. It creates close bonds with your sisters who become lifelong friends and it holds you to a standard that you wouldn’t usually hold yourself to, if you were not affiliated. If you do some research on the organizations you are bashing, you would know that Greek Life is positive, there are just select groups, just like everything else in the world, that make things look bad. Do some research and stop being ignorant.

    • curious on 03.05.2013 at 5:50 am

      That’s interesting. Since you’re not allowed to have alcohol in your house, have you ever drank (since I’m assuming you’re a sophomore), and if so are you only allowed to do so in frat houses?

      • mdd on 03.05.2013 at 8:50 am

        @ curious …is that a serious question…?

    • STUDent on 03.05.2013 at 1:32 pm

      sounds boring

    • Susan on 03.05.2013 at 1:44 pm

      Sororities are forbidden to have parties, Fraternities are not. There is a double standard.

      Colleges need to stop ALL drinking. 3/4 of the population is under age, so why is there any alcohol on campus or near campus at all? Because our society views alcohol as some stupid rite of passage.

      • K on 03.05.2013 at 6:31 pm

        Wait really? Do you really want all colleges to stop all underage drinking? Do you even understand how ridiculous that sounds?

      • SMG Student on 03.06.2013 at 4:37 pm

        Best idea I’ve ever heard. Maybe the goal should be that someone isn’t an “adult” until they are 30.

  • exhausted student on 03.04.2013 at 9:13 pm

    community service for greek life is a red herring. i’m not saying they don’t contribute to charity, and even large sums of money that would not otherwise exist, but i have yet to meet anyone who has joined panhellenic sororities or fraternities for community service. the ‘zero-tolerance policy’ for drugs and alcohol is rarely taken seriously, just look at allston on a friday, saturday, or even thursday night. i honestly don’t even know why i’m writing this, because if the death of a student won’t change people’s minds, a comment on the reporting article definitely won’t. still, as a member of the BU community, any voice heard counts.

    • a greek who joined for community service on 03.05.2013 at 2:10 pm

      Hey-

      I’m a senior in a greek organization and I joined to do service. My organization does a fair amount, and more importantly, I met a great group of people who I have been able to continue doing service in both the CSC programs and outside of BU.

      Policies such as ‘zero tolerance’ are not just applicable to member of greek organizations. They also fall under anyone underage living in a residence hall, on a sports team, or anyone who abides by state and federal laws and follows the BU Code of Conduct.

      I also live in Allston, and have seen my fair share in tragedies. This could have happened in Brookline or Kenmore, so the location is not the issue here either.

      This death’s cause is still being investigated, and therefore members of the BU community should focus their energies on supporting those who are mourning our recent loss, rather than sharing opinions about a conclusion that has yet to be reached.

  • K.O on 03.04.2013 at 9:28 pm

    If we’re going to throw BU greek life under the bus, why not hold other groups to the same standard? What about the various theater groups, A capella groups, musical groups, dancing groups etc? They all hold parties and host underage drinking at off-campus apartments. Is BU willing to check them out as well, or will greek life be yet another scapegoat used? I get that a huge portion of the students, the media, and others despise greek life, but let’s not be hypocritical about the underage drinking that goes on in non-greek affiliated groups.

    It is terrible what happened, but it is not a greek life specific occurrence.

    • G on 03.04.2013 at 10:03 pm

      Well said! No one ever acknowledges the fact that underage happens with plenty of other groups over campus.

    • yes, and...? on 03.05.2013 at 6:06 am

      You know, at a sad time like this, friends and family would want answers. It’s only right to investigate everything that led up to this tragedy, to see how it could be avoided in the future. All of the groups are probably held to the same standard, but in this specific circumstance, unfortunately, the death happened during a Greek Life event. If it happened at a theater event, then the theater community would be investigated. Do you honestly think that we should not investigate and comment on Greek Life, which like it or not is directly involved in this tragedy, because it would be “yet another scapegoat?” C’mon, at the very least you should try to uphold the civility and sophistication that you believe Greek Life has by being understanding, comforting, and mournful to the victims, and not immediately hop on the “defend greek life” bus.

      • K.O on 03.05.2013 at 8:23 am

        A death occurred and the causes behind death of any kind must always be investigated. The first post on this article is an attack on fraternities and sororities. The event was not during a philanthropy event or a formal/semi-formal. It happened in informal setting at an apartment in Allston where EMTs come to the rescue of alcohol poisoned youth every weekend. Young students come close to death here and at every other college in the U.S nearly every weekend due to alcohol poisoning. This problem is not greek life specific and should not be treated as such.

        If the first two BU today readers had not attacked greek life, there would be nothing needing defending. It’s just unfair to turn this into an agenda and to throw every sorority and fraternity under the bus due to a completely separate fraternity’s major mistake that they are being punished for and might face criminal charges for.

        No other group is discriminated against this severely despite engaging in underage drinking for themselves. Heck, doesn’t the ski club have a trip to Canada? It’s advertised as their most popular trip of the year. I wonder if that could have anything to do with Canada’s drinking age.

        Underage drinking occurs in many student groups across many different interests. It appears that greek life is just being made a scapegoat to all of the underage drinking issues at BU. Think of how many people BU busts every weekend in the dorms. It is not just the fraternities and sororities who binge drink and have drinking problems. It is a college student problem.

        • sure okay on 03.05.2013 at 9:47 am

          Sure, I agree with you, and for all I know you’re completely right. I’m just saying, you’re not going to win any arguments or persuade anybody by insisting that underage drinking in greek life is okay because it happens everywhere else, too. “Two wrongs don’t make a right,” you know, stuff like that. If you want to persuade people that greek life is positive, maybe you should counter with evidence of frat guys helping to reduce alcohol abuse. Or sorority girls holding seminars and suggesting proposals on how to combat drug culture in BU. I’m sure you can find the evidence, and if you can’t, maybe you should take the initiative and create it yourself.

          Instead, you talk about how the ski team should also be investigated because they are planning trips to Canada (which is probably because, I don’t know, I hear they have great ski resorts up in the great white north?) Blaming other people to shift the spotlight from yourself never works. If you don’t think people should blame greek life, take the initiative and show them that greek life is not contributing to the problem. Be better than the bashers.

    • Mike on 03.05.2013 at 7:35 am

      Are you confused as to why we’re not reading about theater, dance, and music groups being suspended for under age drinking? It’s probably because no student has died from under age drinking at any of their events. The fact that a lot of other student groups encourage under age drinking isn’t the point of this discussion; it’s a distraction from the issue. The reality of the situation is that fraternities and sororities are always going to be held under scrutiny because of Greek life’s history. Whether or not it is because of the actions of one frat or sorority, when one slips up, everyone else must deal with the consequences.

      I’m so sad to hear about the loss of such a young student and I hope that Greek life figures it out. From what I understand about Greek life, it’s about community and support for one another. Perhaps other Greek life associations should be standing by Sigma Alpha Mu rather than also taking turns bashing them.

  • K.O on 03.04.2013 at 9:35 pm

    It is embarrassing that student media organizations are outside a sorority’s philanthropy event itching to get comments from anyone wearing greek letters. The media agenda is out of hand even at the college level.

  • No True Scotsman on 03.04.2013 at 10:10 pm

    I think that one of the larger issues here is that Fraternities and Sororities get to use the Undergraduate Student Fee fund, via the Allocations Board, to pay for their on-campus and travel events. This fund should be designed to help student groups that are open to all members of the BU community, but obviously Greek Life is a selection based system with fees and dues. Why should every BU undergraduate have to pay for them?

    For example, on February 20th, 2013, the Allocations Board gave Sigma Alpha Mu (the frat in this article) $8,287.00 to run an event on campus, as well as $1,400.00 to help pay for the SAM members to travel to their national conference. This is all a matter of public record and can be seen by looking at the AB website: http://www.bu.edu/allocate/minutes/

    And that was just one week’s worth of activity; there are huge sums being allocated to other fraternities and sororities on campus that come out of the total pool for student groups.

    My solution? Split the Allocations Board so that Greek Life draws from its own pool that is paid for exclusively by members of the Greek Community on campus, and then create a separate pool of funds for student groups to use funded by everyone else. It’s annoying to hear that my student group can’t get enough money for on-campus events that would better our student community when Greek Life gets to travel to their national conventions on our dime.

    • JAC on 03.05.2013 at 8:27 am

      How is your comment at all relevant to this situation? Isn’t this a discussion about the alleged conduct of the involved groups and not their sources of funding?

      In addition, you don’t seem entirely aware of the purpose of the Allocations Board. The USF is specifically meant to fund the programs of student organizations, and AB allocates the USF to programs that bring benefits to the entire BU community. Although Greek life events are mostly attended by other members of Greek life, they are open to the entirety of the campus community. Perhaps if you’re taking issue with the way AB allocates funds, you should speak to AB directly.

    • K on 03.05.2013 at 8:56 am

      @No True Scotsman, do you know what the 8 grand was for? Because Sammy and ADPi presented a Kap Slap concert last Thursday (the 28th), which was open all students and costed $6. $6. For Kap Slap.

      The problem here is that, as with any governing body that takes lots of peoples’ money and spends it on lots of different things (think the govt and taxes), the USF is annoying to you because some of it is allocated to organizations that you aren’t a part of, and perhaps even disagree with. However, what you’re failing to realize, is that the same could be said for almost every individual BU student. In other words, I think you’d be hard pressed to find anyone, Greek, GDI, or those co-ed “fraternities” that I put somewhere in between, who would agree with everything the USF is used for.

  • sad loss on 03.04.2013 at 11:14 pm

    It saddens me that the main conversation of this event is about greek life. People focused on mourning a loss of a BU student for two days, and now for the next three weeks it’s going to be about bashing an organization that he was affiliated with. My condolences go out to the family and friends of the student who was lost; may he be remembered in a positive light.

    • JAC on 03.05.2013 at 8:20 am

      Thank you very much for raising this point. It really saddens and almosts disgusts me that the University community is turning this tragedy into yet another battleground over whether or not Greek Life should be allowed on campus. I hope that the University community will, at least for a little while, properly respect Tony’s memory before going at each other’s throats.

    • Classmate on 03.05.2013 at 4:13 pm

      It saddens me too. I actually decided to read this article in search of some closure, as we were classmates (though not really friends) – instead everyone’s just arguing about frats.

  • BU Soph on 03.04.2013 at 11:44 pm

    As one of Tony’s friends, I can’t say I was sad when I saw this. I know a lot of student groups host underage drinking parties. This is a college. But I don’t recall ever hearing of a story like this, or anything of the sort, from a theatre group party. I certainly don’t think that means all Greek life is good or bad, I know plenty of good things that come from it! But at the end of the day, I won’t ever get to talk to him again, and I can’t imagine this would have happened if that frat didn’t have that party.

    I hope you all get a chance to go to the memorial, whenever it is, regardless of our Greek life views. He was a really sweet kid, and I think the family could use as much support as we can offer.

    • Anthony Barksdale on 04.12.2013 at 1:36 pm

      Thank you…Tony’s dad.

  • TKO on 03.05.2013 at 7:27 am

    You have to consume a very large amount of high proof alcohol in vey short time period to get alcohol poisoning and the risk of this is increased when people are playing drinking games which happens most frequently at parties. The 21 year old drinking age promotes under ground drinking at frat houses and speak easies just as prohibition did. The more sensible solution to the problem is to lower the drinking age back down to 18 while promoting responsible drinking habits through education and a advertising blitz. But the knee jerk reaction to this situation just like that to Sandy Hook will be recommendations for more regulation and a further reductions in civil liberty by governmental bodies etc. that think they know more about what is best for people than they do for themselves.

    • Sigh on 03.05.2013 at 3:50 pm

      I was wondering how many comments it would take to get a ‘lower the drinking age to 18′ one.

      Sigh.

  • Barry Kort on 03.05.2013 at 7:30 am

    I was a member of Sigma Alpha Mu at the University of Nebraska some 50 years ago.

    It was a mixed experience for me. There were aspects of fraternity life that were beneficial to me. And there were aspects that were frankly dispiriting and unbecoming.

    I observe that the SAM chapter at the University of Nebraska no longer exists, and the old SAM fraternity house there has recently been demolished to make way for a parking lot.

    In my days living with Sammies at the University of Nebraska half a century ago, I can honestly say some were great guys. And some, alas, were jerks.

  • puzzled on 03.05.2013 at 8:08 am

    Most campuses with an active Greek Life have a specific department (ie Fraternity and Sorority Affairs, Greek Life office etc) that works with these organizations to ensure they maintain a positive mission and support the chapters to avoid incidents similar to this. Why doesn’t BU have a department like this? With all of the recent incidents involving Greek Life on campus, you would think something would be done.

    • SMG Student on 03.06.2013 at 4:40 pm

      BU is 100% confrontation with Greek life. Their goal has never been to foster it and help it grow.

      No idea why there is such a strong vendetta.

  • Fratstar on 03.05.2013 at 8:15 am

    It’s about time to shut down the entire Greek system and have these losers do something else with their lives. With all the underage drinking these guys do this isn’t that surprising. Horrible loss. RIP.

  • Student on 03.05.2013 at 8:17 am

    Please just everyone stop. This kid died. Take care of your friends, love them, take care of yourself and I hope this is a wake up call to everyone – sports teams, non-Greek members, clubs and everyone. May he rest in peace.

  • Student on 03.05.2013 at 8:23 am

    It also saddens me that this is an article published by bu. leave this kind of journalism up to the mass media. He was a member of our community and it sounds like he was a great one. Lets focus on that and not bashing an organization he was a part of. A tribute would have been nice

    • Roo on 03.05.2013 at 8:41 am

      They posted that first, yesterday….

      http://www.bu.edu/today/2013/eng-student-dies/

      I don’t think it’s wrong of BU Today to post a story about a fraternity getting suspended in the wake of a tragedy. It is, unfortunately, BU news. And considering they did stories when other sororities and fraternities got suspended/in trouble in the last few years, it would seem strange and disingenuous not to report on this one. I don’t think reporting facts is “bashing.” It’s the truth.

      • Student on 03.05.2013 at 8:47 am

        Fair. My apologies

    • RR3 on 03.05.2013 at 8:57 am

      I agree that a tribute would be nice. But I also think it a responsibility of BU to let the community know what happened to one of its members. This especially when it occured during/doing an activity that a vast majority of college students all over partake in.

      A current grad-student, I remember being warned about certain acitivities back in summer 2007 during orientation that had resulted in tragedy. I think it important to raise awareness. We should remember this young man and also be reminded of how precious life really is. I pray for his family, friends and fraternity brothers alike.

      But I definitely agree, his life should be honored in addition to warning folks.

    • DB on 03.05.2013 at 9:15 am

      This article isn’t “bashing” anyone at all. This article is merely an accounting of facts, accompanied by quotes from relevant officials and stakeholders. That’s exactly what news reporting is supposed to be.

  • a on 03.05.2013 at 8:32 am

    It’s not the Greek life, it’s not the community. Everyone in college drinks. It is sad that someone died from such sad advent. Greek life exists to help those who are looking for a place to belong, so does drinking. People drink, smoke, whatever to fit in. If anyone is to blame is the society and the culture that media portrayed college life. People start to follow things that they believe are cool. Even if alcohol and drugs are banned from frat and sorority houses, they can still manage to find those things themselves. It’s Boston, everything exists. But if the frat and sorority is a community then everyone is to blame. Instead of educating other and help fellow members out, they probably encourage these activities

    • Sigh on 03.05.2013 at 3:51 pm

      Not everyone in college drinks.

      • What? on 03.05.2013 at 4:11 pm

        Neither does everyone in Greek life.

    • K on 03.05.2013 at 6:40 pm

      I think it’s a bit naive to say that “people drink, smoke, whatever to fit in”. I mean yeah, sure, peer pressure and a desire to be accepted can be part of the reason, but it is rarely the entire cause, and often plays no role whatsoever in an individual’s decision to get shwasty. I’m still underage, and when I decide to grab a beer with lunch, drink myself stupid on a Friday night, or experiment with fun new drugs, I’m not doing so to fit in. I’m doing so as a stress release, and because I’m still relatively young and free of many adult responsibilities.

  • BU Student on 03.05.2013 at 8:34 am

    I can’t even fathom that some students of the BU community think this tragedy is an opportunity to bash Greek Life. Almost every student drinks, be he a fraternity brother or member of an a capella group–or both. This discussion would be far healthier if we focused instead on BU’s approach to alcohol education and their tolerance policies. Can alcohol education really be useful if BU is simultaneously denying the existence of widespread drinking among its students? It’s kind of like trying to teach kids about condoms while pretending that sex doesn’t exist–you can’t have it both ways.

    In order to facilitate a healthy and useful discussion about drinking and overuse, BU needs to first loosen its fascist hold over even its youngest students and give them a safe place to explore more adult life. If they all think they’ll be penalized for drinking, then when they see their friends get in trouble with alcohol, to whom can they turn? No one, except other inexperienced freshmen and sophomores.

    Health professionals and police need to be students’ allies, people they can trust, before we can avoid more tragedies like this. Dragging kids who drunkenly stagger into Warren to the hospital under the supervision of a police officer does not suggest that they’re safe resources to these students. When BU creates a realistically safe and helpful environment for its experimenting students, the number of similar tragedies will sharply drop.

    • mrs m on 03.05.2013 at 1:29 pm

      I’m so sorry for you. It has been almost 30 years since the drinking age was raised to 21. Get with the program and simply follow the law. Its easy. You choose to break the law, BU chooses to enforceit.

      My prayers to the family.It breaks my heart. If someone forced him to drink I hope they are prosecuted fully.

      • K on 03.05.2013 at 6:44 pm

        OK, but how can you not realize that intoxicated students are less likely to call for emergency help for their friends if they think they’ll be punished for doing so? The legal age may be 21, but it’s a law unfounded in rationality, and BU’s decision not only to enforce the law, but to enforce it in such a way as to alienate its students and breed contempt among us for BUPD is clearly not their best course of action.

      • SMG Student on 03.06.2013 at 4:42 pm

        Conversely you can argue it has been 30 years with minimal positive results. The biggest danger to underage drinking was driving. Since BU students are a foot mobile population this isn’t much of a problem.

        On the other hand Canada had a great success with a drinking age of 19. American is one of the few countries of the world to have a 21 drinking age. Why doesn’t American get with the program?

    • No on 03.05.2013 at 10:10 pm

      Ah yes, it’s BU’s fault for following the law. Lovely logic you have there. Here are some basic resources BU offers about alcohol education…

      http://www.bu.edu/shs/wellness/aod/

      http://www.bu.edu/calendar/?uid=135846@17.calendar.bu.edu

      Furthermore, the FY101 class is required to also do an alcohol education session as well.

      The fact that you have to face a consequence for BREAKING THE LAW does not mean the university is not operating as a safe haven for its students. Can you imagine the parent backlash, the lawsuits, if BU did not enforce the law sufficiently? And if you think it’s fascist, well, that’s just a completely disrespectful hyperbole.

  • Jason on 03.05.2013 at 8:40 am

    I think that the national drinking age is at some fault in this tragedy, and similar ones across the country. There is no reason to relegate legal adult to binge drinking at these social events outside of the law. We trust 18-20 year olds with voting for our government official, to fight our wars, ect, but not with alcohol. My parents generation were allowed to procure alcohol at 18 years of age, why not my generation? I doubt my generation has experience such a moral decline that we cannot be thought of as responsible enough. In my mind the government is much more culpable for loses like this than fraternities.

  • Andrew on 03.05.2013 at 8:44 am

    There was absolutely no Greek Life at my undergraduate university and in my three years there and the additional year I remained there after graduation there was not one alcohol-related incident at required hospitalization. Additionally the two nearest universities officially banned Greek life and the students reported an increase in the feeling of community and a significant decrease in alcohol related instance on campus.

    People claiming that these organizations donated to charity are failing to recognize that they are not responsibly donating to charity (very little through goes into which charity and often they are donating to charities that have low ratings) and their methods of raising money are often dangerous, misogynistic, or (more likely) both.

    • Um WHAT on 03.05.2013 at 4:49 pm

      “not one alcohol-related incident [that] required hospitalization” ??? Even if this is true, which given medical privacy and real life in general I highly doubt, I’d say it speaks less to the lack of Greek Life and more to whatever freakish university you attended. Any chance you could actually post the name of this fictional place? Or would too many facts just bog down your point.

      Additionally, if your oh so special college didn’t have a Greek life, how can you possibly speak so authoritatively on where philanthropic money goes? Or how it is raised?

      In my sorority, I actually handed several thousands of dollars straight to hospitals and free clinics… is that irresponsibly donating?

    • Anderson on 03.05.2013 at 5:11 pm

      Do you mind sharing where you went for undergrad? Just want to do a little fact checking for my own satisfaction.

      Oh, and by the way, just because hospitalizations aren’t reported like BU’s are doesn’t mean they didn’t happen. Greek life or no Greek life, I’ll betcha someone outside your bubble at that school drank a little too much in a four-year period.

  • DB on 03.05.2013 at 9:14 am

    There is an alternative available for the men of BU seeking the brotherly love, fellowship, and lessons in self-improvement that come with joining a fraternity, without the hazing, substance abuse, and childish antics associated with Greek letter societies…an alternative that truly embodies the meaning of the word “fraternity,” before it got shorted to “frat.” A truly global fraternity, older than the university, older than the country itself. It’s members have included University President The Reverend Daniel Marsh, 14 US Presidents, and Founders and Framers like Ben Franklin, George Washington, and Paul Revere.

    If this appeals to you, the men of Boston University Lodge AF & AM are waiting to hear from you. Take the first step and ASK.

    • SMG Student on 03.05.2013 at 9:52 am

      While a nice advertisement that is an incredible accusation.

      I was never hazed during my pledge process. It was constructive and team building as a new member class. For more so then ROTC in fact. Not once did anyone even hint at me having to drink.

      Define “childish antics”, sure we have fun on weekends, but my brothers are also the primary group I work on advanced finance with, practice for interviews, ask for advice ect. If I followed you around for a week with some of your close friends would you be a bastion of cold maturity?

      • DB on 03.05.2013 at 10:07 am

        I have no intention of arguing with you about it. I’m glad that you found what you were looking for. Many of our members joined Greek letter societies before joining the lodge. They’ll all tell you that joining a frat was fun, but joining the lodge was one of the best decisions they ever made.

    • Manuel on 03.05.2013 at 10:10 am

      Are you seriously advertising your “student group” on a page about a student who died, to try to gain an advantage off of all the people who are bashing greek life?

      Because that is honestly the sickest thing I have seen on here. People can have whatever positive or negative opinions about greek life, but to use it to gravitate people to your group is despicable.

      • DB on 03.05.2013 at 11:05 am

        The article about the student’s tragic death was yesterday. This is an article about a fraternity chapter that got suspended. Please find another outlet for your self-righteous outrage, you’re really not impressing anybody. And BU Lodge is not a student group.

        • Mandaean on 03.05.2013 at 11:46 am

          You shouldn’t be advertising your group to feel more righteous yourself. Have some decency and respect the fact that he is dead, and the community needs more unity and not further division. This school has always needed a better community atmosphere, and the honest organizations with near spotless reputations like SAMMY have been a great family for many young men. Do fraternities change? Does their guard go down? Sadly, indeed they do. The risks were always their, and as much as it pains me to say, it was only a matter of time.

  • Andrea on 03.05.2013 at 9:53 am

    First of all, My thoughts and prayer are with this young man’s family and friends. It is a tragedy.

    Secondly,it has not been determined that this boy died from alcohol. It is assumed that it is a contributing factor. Autopsy results are not included in this article. The frat was suspended for underage drinking and policy violations. Not all fraternities and sororities are the same nor do all members drink excessivily.

    Lastly, let the coroner and the investigative groups do their jobs and let us all concentrate on the healing process of this tragedy.

  • Concerned Faculty on 03.05.2013 at 10:53 am

    Students will drink anywhere any time, but FRATS and SORORITIES couple that with rituals and peer pressure. This increases the risk — this is different from drinking at social events. Here the stakes are higher and there is more pressure for a student to drink and impress whoever they are trying to impress.
    At this point, it is clear to me at least that Frats and Sororities are doing more harm than good. Shut them down. There are plenty of other orgs that students can participate in and still do the same good work. Moreover, frats and sororities are discriminatory. I don’t see why they deserve a place on the university campus. May be in the 1900s they did, not any more. Time to progress.

    • Mr. Kabukiman on 03.05.2013 at 11:28 am

      Concerned Faculty is correct. There are other fraternal social organizations (ie. Freemasons, Lions club, etc) where people can go to socialize and network if you want to be a part of a group or organization. They do plenty of charity work and outreach in the community, as well.

    • SMG Student on 03.05.2013 at 11:49 am

      The only reason people are impressed by drinking is the high drinking age in this country.

      I see it more as a problem with my non greek friends then my greek friends. At least my greek friends can rely on each other to make sure that they stay safe.

      Greek events always have designated people to make sure the event runs smoothly as the organizations reputation is in danger if it doesn’t. How many other parties do this or take those precautions?

    • Another Concerned Faculty on 03.05.2013 at 12:29 pm

      Well said. The old tradition is dying, let it go. World has changed since ancient times, world is moving toward all inclusive, open mindness, cultures are mixing. BTW, being Greek myself, I have never heard modern Greeks organizing or participating in “Greek life”. Maybe this poor kid would have been happier in culturaly open and relaxed environment, without the closeness and “exclusiveness” of Frats. May be he would have decided he is a free soul, and doesn’t need to impress anybody…

    • ex-greek on 03.05.2013 at 1:07 pm

      I was a member of a greek organization at BU during my time there and I never once was put into a situation I didn’t want to be in. If I was drunk at a party, it wasn’t because of “peer-pressure” or to impress anyone. I drank because I was in college having a good time with my friends. If you tell me you never had a sip of alcohol before you reached the age of 21, that’s fine, that’s a choice you made, but it doesn’t make you a better person than any of the members of my fraternity, nor will I try to claim that any of them are better than you.

      Also, the allegations that fraternities and sororities are discriminatory are baseless and generalizing. Organizations like Sigma Alpha Mu on campus are some of the most diverse student groups on campus, with members from all around the world. If you mean selective, that’s one thing, but think about what you’re saying.

    • Student on 03.05.2013 at 4:46 pm

      I know fraternities and sororities have a negative image from peer pressure and parties, but please consider the group in question. I am good friends with many of the Sammy brothers and I can honestly say that they are the nicest group of guys at BU, and would never force anyone to drink past his/her limits. Please don’t bash the fraternity and assume it’s their fault when the official cause of death has yet to be released. My freshman year, a student from a different fraternity died at a party because he had a heart complication that did not allow him to drink alcohol and he did anyway. Don’t bash Greek life, and especially Sammy specifically, when nobody knows exactly what happened yet.

  • bu student on 03.05.2013 at 11:32 am

    it bothers me that everyone is focusing on the fraternities, and blaming the fraternity. this could happen to anyone. it’s a heartbreaking loss, and a terrible accident, but the focus should not be on banning greek life, because that would not help anything. students would still drink too much, and unfortunately could be in this position again. the focus should be on educating students on alcohol awareness and making students really see the consequences of drinking too much, not on petitioning to have fraternities and sororities shut down.

    • Parent on 03.05.2013 at 12:44 pm

      Let’s get real alcohol and substance abuse is the cool thing, unless there is education among high schoolers and college students that it is not kosher to abuse either substance and to stay away we would continue to have problems, greek or not greek does not matter, if you want to take the same action then suspend the whole school as the use of both is there, also enforce the laws of selling such to minors, having said that we see how wasted non-minors are and fatalties there exist, lets go back to basics and promote education and awareness of drinking and substance abuse, prevention is better than medication. Peer pressure should also be dealt with, it is not cool to drink or substance abuse, it is stronger and cooler if you stay away, we live in a screwed up world were drinking is cool and a must, adults and celebreties are wrong role models, it starts there as well, who do our kids look after.

  • Alum on 03.05.2013 at 12:48 pm

    I find it interesting that whenever an event like this occurs, the immediate reaction of both the University and the national leadership of the Greek organization in question is always to distance themselves from the events by suspending the chapter.
    This demonstration of disapproval seems to have the intended effect of absolving both institutions of their responsibilities to prevent such tragedies from happening again.
    Instead of shunning these specific students, I would like to see more efforts from universities and greek life national leadership that discourage destructive hazing and dangerous drinking practices.
    I understand the need for some sort of disciplinary action, but I think we should expect the reaction of the national leadership to go beyond being “saddened by the loss” and suspending the chapter.

    • Parent on 03.05.2013 at 1:15 pm

      I agree with Alum does the suspension solve the problem, we should look beyond and start concrete steps towards long term solutions in minimizing the issue of drinking and substance abuse

      • Parent on 03.05.2013 at 1:26 pm

        I feel like the suspension is an escape goat and not a resoloution

        • um... on 03.05.2013 at 3:43 pm

          I believe what you meant to say was “scapegoat.” There is no such thing as an “escape goat” (funny as that image is.)

        • Katie on 03.05.2013 at 3:56 pm

          I also agree that the suspension is an escape goat. Good thing my goat has come back to me!

        • Manuel on 03.05.2013 at 3:58 pm

          I believe the suspension is a knee jerk reaction to the events. Once the situation is investigated more I am positive more steps will be made one way or another

  • Unbiased Undergraduate Opinion on 03.05.2013 at 1:06 pm

    For the past year and a half, the school has seen nothing but horrible incidences occur in Allston. Greek Life is used as a scapegoat, but it’s the area in general. It’s dangerous, there is little way to control it, there has been countless sexual assault incidences, robberies, students being held at gun-point, students having knives pulled on them. Greek life is only involved because Slumlords know they can get high-rent for a property that just barely passes fire & safety codes, so fraternities inhabit these places where they can hold their ritual, their traditions, their brotherhood and host social events in settings that are unfit to do so, because there is no alternative.

    However, BU’s solution to the problem is to ramp up police enforcement in the area, “to catch anyone that may possibly be doing something wrong”. Students retreat, they party in dangerous areas that they don’t think they’ll get caught in, they put themselves in further harm’s way to avoid getting in trouble with the school.

    Why? Because they care about school, these are good kids, they don’t want to get in trouble, they don’t want to disappoint their parents, they want to have some fun and then get back in the library to do well in school next week and take advantage of their opportunity.

    So what happens? Students look for a social outlet, they’re in the city of Boston, the nationally-acclaimed “city to go to when you’re in college”, and BU itself is, in many ways, central to all of it, filled with different opportunities for these social outlets. By ramping up this police control, you have hundreds of students, most in good academic standing, many of which probably have made dean’s list through their tenure at the school, and they’re getting written up for various alcohol-related charges. All the meanwhile, everything actually bad about Allston is still happening on a day-to-day basis. These are good students, they don’t want to get caught drinking in the dorm or on BU’s campus but “I just aced that test, I’ve been in the library all week, there’s a house party on Wadsworth, I deserve to have a little fun, I don’t want to play ping pong in Rich Hall all night”. In more cases than none, this is the most common scenario that is occurring when students venture into Allston.

    This incident serves as a true symbol that BU’s method is not working and it NEEDS to change. Their students are not safe, they are indirectly forcing them into dangerous environments. This was probably a night that Barksdale was anticipating, as a “great memory of college”, and things got out of control, which is nothing against the organization he belongs to, this is the type of environment where something is BOUND to go wrong, for anyone that tries to find fun by attending a house party in Allston.

    BU, you want to solve this? Recognize the importance of cultivating a true structured social environment that suits your students. Allston is simply a wasteland that has no rules, that’s why everyone goes there. Get us out of Allston, get our social scene into Fenway, where are the shows? Why is there not lobbying within the city to get more 18+ venues that these freshmen and sophomores can go to? Your students are in dangerous areas and there are no real limits to what can happen, and what can go wrong. We’re in a city, the majority of your students want to go to bars, go to clubs, go to different lounges with their friends, go to 18+ concerts at HOB, TD Garden, Agganis, if it ever brought in major names they wanted to hear. By big names, and I love all music to anyone reading, I’m talking about Tiesto, Katy Perry, Drake, Taylor Swift, Lil’ Wayne, Afrojack-brand name artists with millions of fans that people get excited about and are most likely listening to at these Allston house parties. You figure out how to provide these environments, this problem is erased, your acceptance rate continues to set record numbers because not only do you have some of the top academic institutions in the country, you will have an unrivaled social scene that any college kid begs to experience. Just recognize that this school continues to rise on an academic rating, but this tragedy and the others expose BU’s truly weak control over the environments in which their students live in. Your students want to have a full college experience that everyone hopes to have when they apply in high school, they’re willing to take risks that they shouldn’t to experience it.

    I’m not here to say “get the drinking reduced to 18″, I’m a realist and those are the exact facts about what is going on among the school and the city of Boston. I am truly sorry about what has happened to Tony Barksdale and his family & friends. I didn’t know him but this seems to be a great guy and a great overall member of the BU student community. Barksdale innocently wanted to have fun on one weekend during his Freshmen year in college and his life ended abruptly because of the facts listed in this comment.

    • Student on 03.05.2013 at 4:54 pm

      Best comment on this article, hands down. AMEN.

      • Lisa on 03.05.2013 at 9:32 pm

        I read the comment by “unbiased undergraduate option” a few times trying to make sense out of it. It states that Allston is a dangerous area and BU’s apparently incorrect response is to ‘ramp up police enforcement in the area.” So? WHY is this wrong? And what would you have them do, ignore what goes on here so underage kids can have a place to drink? And let’s be real, BU is not going to “solve the problem” by hosting more on-campus events. You said it yourself, Allston is a wasteland with no rules “that is why everyone goes there.” Do you expect BU to host events with “no rules”? Think about what you are saying and read what you write before you post it.

        • Unbiased Undergraduate Opinion on 03.06.2013 at 12:49 pm

          Hello Lisa,

          I apologize if my comment was unclear to you. No, I’m not saying BU shouldn’t respond to an environment “with no rules”, I’m simply saying that what they’re doing isn’t working and it’s not solving the real problem.

          The real problem is that underclassmen go there because there is no appealing alternative and its very easy for incidences like this to happen in Allston neighborhoods no matter how many police cars roam the streets. Allston is not a safe environment, simply put, it’s just the only area that any underclassmen can go to have a good time, consistently.

          BU’s efforts are only getting their students in trouble and jeopardizing their futures, you can compile all the “citations” and all the “noise complaints” that you want to display in a BU Today Article, but the robberies, the stabbings, and the sexual assault incidences are still happening. It’s not a safe area for students to go to on the weekends, but its all you really have if you’re under 21.

          I don’t expect BU to host events with no rules, the law is the law, the drinking age is 21. I expect BU to actively work towards working with 3rd party venues to produce events that underclassmen can go to and most importantly, WANT to go to. I don’t think any kid wants to go to a school dance at the MetCalf, but I DO think kids would love to go to third party venues (clubs/bars/concert venues) neighboring BU’s campus provided they could enter as an 18+, something most college towns offer. Not to mention, if Fraternities and Sororities were able to host events at third party venues with the assistance of BU, they will become a new-found benefit to the BU community.

          Maybe we will not see eye to eye, but I am a student who knows the in’s and out’s of the Allston area because that was my best alternative as an underclassmen, too. If BU’s new solution to this is to start putting armed military officers on every corner of the “GAP” then so be it, but that is not progressive, and that is not a long term solution. Figure out how to make a better social scene by utilizing the resources of a city and I can guarantee that tragedies like this will be avoided.

    • B on 03.05.2013 at 5:19 pm

      Thank you. This is what most people can at least agree on.

    • agreed on 03.05.2013 at 5:49 pm

      Best comment and I as a 2012 alumna, I cosign 100%.

    • Bryan on 03.05.2013 at 9:10 pm

      Errr.. that would be “scapegoat”

    • nora on 03.05.2013 at 10:34 pm

      You make a very good point. There needs to be more 18+ activities available to students in and around Boston. When I attended BU (CLA ’91) there really wasn’t much offered, in fact, I don’t remember anything. It was either house parties or trying to get into one of the Father’s bars. Boston is a world-class city; surely, they can bring in some talent.

    • Staff on 03.05.2013 at 11:06 pm

      AGREED. This comment goes a long way at describing sollutions to some of the challenges facing BU students today. Nicely said.
      I hope the administration and entrepreneurs are reading.
      Walk by Blue State Coffee on a Monday night; give students a similiar venue on a Friday night where they can socialize, dance, and release stress with friends in Boston.
      Give them a reason NOT to go to Allston.

  • Grad Student on 03.05.2013 at 1:15 pm

    Speaking from experience, the best thing the Greek community can do in a time like this is to embrace the investigations, and collaboratively seek solutions to make sure this never happens again. While drinking is a part of many student organizations and (unlike the other posts seem to indicate), drinking in any social circle can be coupled with ritual, hazing, and peer pressure, the Greek community should lead by example in urging this practice to stop. Together, we can seek solutions to a more safe BU community. As a once active member of Greek life, I urge the BU Greek community to stop the defense wall against criticism and use this to become a better, stronger, safer place for students to learn, network, and grow together.

  • !!!! on 03.05.2013 at 1:29 pm

    I personally feel that it is wrong for anyone to be bashing greek life, we have to understand that each sorority or fraternity is different. Yes, there may be alcohol involved in this and it was wrong but how many of you can say that you actually didn’t attend any parties freshman year where you yourself got intoxicated? You can’t bash greek life and associate it with alcohol at all. Furthermore, it is also one’s individual choice for the most part as to whether or not one should drink.

  • Another Concerned Parent on 03.05.2013 at 1:56 pm

    My thoughts and prayers go out to Tony, as well as his family & friends. This was an incredibly sad event that did not have to occur. Despite the “chatter” within the comments section, I hope and pray that the spirit of Tony will not be forgotten.

    In recent BU Today articles, discussing increased police presence in/around the GAP area, as well as this article – there has been a theme. Statements have been made about BU’s “fascist hold” on students w/ regard to underage drinking. Others have repeatedly indicated that underage drinking will continue, regardless of police presence and/or affiliation with organizations. Some have expressed outrage that tuition money is being spent on additional patrols around campus.

    While I don’t agree with the “fascist hold” comment (with all due respect to BU Student), there is one very important fact that is being overlooked: Purchasing, possessing or consuming alcohol, under the age of 21, is illegal in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. IT IS ILLEGAL! Regardless of your beliefs or position on this matter – drinking is illegal! This is not a BU policy. This is not a Suffolk County policy. It is the law – nothing more… nothing less.

    When students comment on additional police patrols, please know that law enforcement (BUPD as well as Brookline and Boston Police Departments) have better things to do with their time than patrolling neighborhoods looking for illegal activity involving intoxicated students. These officers do not get up in the morning with the pretense of making the lives of BU students miserable. The police are, however, often responding to complaints from year-round homeowners who live in the GAP area and are tired of the late night activity that is disruptive and inconsiderate. Law enforcement officials are simply doing their job.

    If students (translation – young adults) gathered together and had a couple of bottles of beer or glasses of wine, without drawing unnecessary attention to their rental property, do you honestly think the police are going to give you a difficult time? Overcrowding, loud music, yelling in the streets and as one person put it – “student antics” will draw attention to your gathering. If student hosts are going to open their doors to an “all-you-can-drink” extravaganza, please don’t fault BU or Boston Police for your foolishness and poor decision making. In an effort to have fun, hosts of such events (whether it be a fraternity or sorority, a singing or dancing group, or a sports team) are involving themselves and others in risky behavior.

    In this unfortunate incident, a fraternity was involved. As a sidebar, I find it interesting that the national representatives of said organizations love to broadcast the news of a successful fund raising activity or philanthropic event. Yet, when the “crap hits the fan” the same national representatives broadcast the party line, indicating that this type of behavior is not supported or this was not a sanctioned event, in an attempt to protect themselves and the fraternity from possible litigation.

    College students drink – yes, it is a fact of life. With that comes personal responsibility. My uncle used to say: “If you’re going to dance, be prepared to pay the fiddler.” In this case, members of SAM made poor choices – “dancing” hard. And as a result, there are consequences associated with serving alcohol to underage individuals.

    You don’t have to agree with the policies or procedures – but remember one thing: Boston University did not create the laws. BU is, however, obligated to uphold them – like it or not. If you are not happy with the way things are, channel your energy in a positive fashion. Write your elected officials and ask for a review of the laws. Contact The Amethyst Initiative (you are smart enough to Google this) – and offer your support to those who are advocating to reduce the drinking age to 18 if your truly think this is the answer.

    Tony – I didn’t know you personally. As a parent, I pray for your family – we cannot overlook the magnitude of their loss. Your mom and dad received a call over the weekend that is the worst nightmare for parents. You ventured off to school, with hope and excitement in their hearts. Your parents will never be the same. Despite the circumstances and alleged involvement, I pray for your fraternity brothers – they are also grieving. I pray for your friends – and hope that something positive can come from this senseless tragedy.

    Peace -

    • SMG Student on 03.06.2013 at 4:50 pm

      Not to disagree since you had many goods points, but I’ve seen groups of 8 or so students who were being reasonable quite come in to investigate. Generally the student presence and high rents are making the GAP area far nicer.

  • Jeff Lambe on 03.05.2013 at 1:56 pm

    I for one am not involved in Greek Life but have several friends and acquaintances who are, and most of them are responsible people looking to better themselves socially and professionally through a common entity.

    The problem is not fraternities and sororities, the problem is a minority of there members who are supposed to be responsible but showing extremely poor judgement.

    Blaming the existence of fraternities and sororities for this issue is naïve and short-sighted. When there is a car accident, do we blame Ford and Toyota for the fact that cars exist and bad things sometimes happen with them, or do we blame reckless drivers for not being responsible and using proper judgement?

    • Jacob AG on 03.05.2013 at 5:28 pm

      Depends on the circumstances, no? Some drivers are victims of the car companies (remember Toyota’s sticky pedals issue?); others made their own mistakes; others made no mistakes and were not the victims of the car companies, but of someone else’s mistakes; and some people were both irresponsible AND driving a defective car.

      You have to look at the Greek system as just that — a system.

  • Christina Strasfield/parent on 03.05.2013 at 2:36 pm

    As a Parent I can’t imagine a more horrible situation you send your child to college to broaden their mind and you hear the tragic news that they died. A totally senseless death, because of alcohol, that was served at a Fraternity event that you as the parent may have given him money to join. So very sad, my heart felt sympathy goes out to his family.

  • Chloe on 03.05.2013 at 4:50 pm

    My heart goes out to Tony’s family during this tragedy. I did not know him personally, but he sounds like a wonderful kid.

    Although I am not a fan of Greek life, I feel like the bigger issue is to figure out why all of these underaged college kids flock to drinking regularly. I’m underaged as well, and it really disappoints me when i read some of these comments that “ALL college kids drink.” No, we don’t all drink. I’ve never been drunk in my life. I’ve personally had people judge me and laugh at me when i say i don’t drink. I absolutely hate this pressure to go out and drink.

    It’s not just frats, although they are called “frat parties” for a reason. underaged kids party and black out no matter what social group they’re in.

    also, it really pisses me off when BU talks about their no-tolerance policy and that anyone caught drunk will be held accountable. i personally see entire groups of drunk kids swiping into the dorms and the security guards don’t blink an eye! these kids drink because they KNOW they can get away with it. it’s ridiculous. and insulting to those of us who don’t want to drink.

  • BU Freshman parent on 03.05.2013 at 9:37 pm

    As a parent, my heart goes out to the family who sent their son to college with pride and joy at his achievements and bright future only to be called with the news that he had died.. Show respect for the family, none of the comments here by students for or against greek life matter, it only shows you lack respect for the ultimate tragedy, losing a child. I can assure you the only thing that matters is that their son is dead. May he rest in peace. May his family feel love and support from the BU community who grieves with them.

    • BC on 03.12.2013 at 5:12 pm

      Amen to this comment. As a parent who knew Tony personally as the outstanding young man full of promise, smiles, humor, dreams, smarts, and kindness who attended all the remembrances this week in his hometown and saw first hand the pain, anguish, and overwhelming sadness that his family and friends have to endure I believe the thoughts need to be for Tony and his family and not an argument for or against Greek life. As the pastor,Tony’s great great uncle,said at the memorial, “We are all our brother’s keeper”. How I wish there was someone at that party to have been watching over Tony’s well being that night. For those of you who are still in school and will no doubt be confronted with these situations in the future please learn from this tragedy, and watch out for your friends.

      • Anthony Barksdale on 04.12.2013 at 12:34 pm

        Thank you for your comment on my son. I was reading a lot of the post and notice that the majority of the posts was all about the Greek talk or fraternity and no respect for my TB2. Thank you so much. TB2 dad.

    • Anthony Barksdale on 04.12.2013 at 12:36 pm

      Thank you so much for your comment and showing respect for my sons death and us as the heart broken parents. God Bless.

  • Kyle on 03.06.2013 at 12:22 am

    First off, I offer my condolences to Tony’s family, friends, and anyone who knew him in a posiive light. I do not want my post to take away from the tragedy here, and how no child/young man deserved to lose his life.

    May I ask this question first. Why does Boston University not have Medical Amnesty? Dean Elmore has been quoted saying that he has faith in his students, that when faced with a difficult decision, they will choose to call the ambulance, but in the heat of the moment, knowing the impending BU Judicial hammer about to come crashing down, will go to all other possible outlets first, and do every thing he/she can to stay incognito in fear of this oppressive business-like University. Do I think that the people surrounding this young man in his final hours, knowing they could get him help, with ZERO repercussions, would have called that bus sooner to save their brother and best friend. WITHOUT A DOUBT IN MY MIND. But alas, no, the fear of everyone getting in trouble over this drives students to seek every alternative until it is too late, and a great young man has passed.

    To respond to the Greek-life bashing. 1. If any of you have ever drank underage or even attended a party (off or on campus) at a residence of members of a student group or hosted by a student group, then you are a hypocrite and need to come down from your moral high horse. 2. There are fraternities ON THIS CAMPUS that are holding a 3.5 mean GPA. Yes SOCIAL fraternities holding a 3.5 GPA. WELL ABOVE the men’s all campus average, so if you want to go toe-to-toe with my brothers getting 4.0s then feel free to have the GPA debate with them. Furthermore, being a fraternity man has skewed in recent years from its original intention because of how we are portrayed as beer swilling goons and frat-star bros. However, we are a group of young men, who have higher aspirations and ideals than the average college male. We stand as the best men the University has to offer. Complacency is not an option in our minds, striving to be the best men we can be. Our organization is put in place to unite us as the best, and use each other in times of need and hardship to have brothers to call upon, while also having friends to rejoice with in times of triumph. We stand strong in believing in a purposeful life and living every day to the fullest, always seeking to become better.

    We also put on functions that would otherwise not be here at the University. There are few groups that offer such. How many student groups hold large philanthropies and fund-raisers that unite the student body, bring people from all social pools, and hold such large scale events, that not only give to charity (something this University’s allocations board is trying to take away, but I digress) but offer enjoyable, on campus, and sanctioned events that students get to participate and gain from. If this University were to allow Greek Life housing back on campus, it would only further the giving we offer. There are many national fraternity programs that allow their on campus house to hold events, classes, and functions open to the student body, all under administration control. But again, they turn the cold shoulder.

    Finally, being in Greek Life offers so much that many people do not see. It gives me the tools to grow as a good man. How many other organizations say their intent is to groom their members into the leaders and overseers of tomorrow. I have been given the opportunity to grow so much from my short 1.5 years as a Greek thus far. The letters on my chest only help solidify my growth as a man. I have been brought closer to a group of 50 of the best men on this campus. I have learned everything from proper etiquette, dressing properly for all occasions, proper nutrition, career and resume building, etc.

    If you need further discussion, I would be delighted to discuss further on this topic.

    • C.H. on 03.06.2013 at 8:09 pm

      “If you need further discussion, I would be delighted to discuss further on this topic.”

      Exactly.

  • Concerned Student on 03.06.2013 at 2:04 pm

    While I believe that significant changes in policy should be made on a local, organizational and perhaps even national level, I’d urge all readers to focus on what they can do as individuals.

    Parents, create a relationship with your child that allows them to discuss drinking with you. Friends of mine who have over-protective parents tend to have the most drug and alcohol related problems as they believe they can’t discuss these problems with the people who matter most to them. Drinking becomes something they must hide or repress, leading to a myriad of problems.

    Students, while drinking can create an environment of fun and camaraderie, decency and common sense shouldn’t be overlooked. If you notice a friend drinking much more than usual – or you believe their actions to be dangerous, speak up. If your friend won’t listen to you, be responsible and recruit others or call medics to avoid these tragedies. Nobody wants to be a buzzkill but I don’t believe any good friend would risk the life of another for this simple fact. This is not to shoulder any blame on the friends of Anthony, as the circumstances of his passing are still unknown and speculation is unwise.

    While I agree that BU should adopt a policy of medical amnesty, let’s focus on small changes that can make a big difference.

  • arf on 03.07.2013 at 4:42 pm

    Firstly, I would like to send my condolences to Anthony’s family and friends. This was truly a tragedy.

    my second point is in light of what happened and in response to the conversation above but is not actually related to this particular event.
    I agree with concerned student in that we should look into a set of manageable steps towards a policy and attitude on drinking that makes sense. As someone who’s never really heard much about Greek life directly and has never been involved in it, I think the issue here is a matter of attitude. From what I’ve read above, not all organizations are “created equal” in how stringent their zero tolerance policies and academic performance requirements are. When this gets mixed in with pop culture and its depictions of teens/college age people is when things become problematic. Specifically, what I’m referring to is:

    a)Stereotypical depictions of Greek life in movies
    b)the inclusion of heavy drinking in a colloquial definition of what it means to have a good time in a social setting

    leading to individuals wanting to join a Greek life organization because of its (potentially unfair)association with partying and heavy drinking. (Similarly with young people as a whole-Teens and young adults tend to be mistrusted.) From my experience, (as well as from secondhand knowledge,)there are always some “bad apples in every bunch.” Given that college is a place where students are learning to live independently, being a “bad apple” has a really broad range of meaning (spanning from short-sightedness to lack of experience, be with alcohol or otherwise).
    Therefore, I think it would make sense for there to be some sort of system to teach students how to safely drink when they don’t know what their limit is, and to teach students how to respond to alcohol poisoning. This could mean that at least one or more sober monitors have to know first aid and have a kit to respond.

  • Diane P on 03.16.2013 at 8:44 pm

    Having watched Tony and his mother grow up all I can say is the horror of losing a child to a tradgedy such as this, is one that you just never will get over. Tony was the kindest,caring young man you would ever want to meet. He was a great kid with so much potential. Tony was so proud to be a BU student. Tony’s YaYa, my best friend, and I have been asking why Tony ever since this happened. Will the truth ever be told as to what happened that night? Will anyone have the guts to tell the family what happened to their beloved son, grandson, nephew and brother and friend?? Hundreds of family, friends and classmates attended Tony’s Memorial Service in a small town in New Hampshire to pay their respects to a life lost far too soon. The Fraternity members need to do the manly thing and tell the truth as to what went on that tragic night to end the life of such a great kid.So let’s see which one of you fine Greek’s will be willing to be a man.

  • Anthony Barksdale on 04.12.2013 at 12:56 pm

    This is the father of my beloved and dearly missed TB2 (TonyB2). My son was like my twin, with the same character as mines, but the differences was…he trusted everyone. My son and I had a very close relationship and coming from a church background, I raised my son and daughter on how to treat people with love/kindness/be uplifting/genuine…fruits of the spirit. I raised my son and daughter, if others lie on you or mistreat you to stay away from them and not let negative people corrupt your character. I will not speak on what happen that night, but will say this…”I wish I could turn back the hands of time, to March 1st”. I miss and love you TB2. :(

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