CARS HOMES JOBS

Union fraternity sued by student hurt in fight

Thursday, April 4, 2013
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— A Union College student is suing a fraternity because he claims it allowed an underage student to get drunk and punch him.

The incident stems from a party the Alpha Pi chapter of the Chi Psi fraternity held Sept. 29-30 at its house on Union Avenue. Senior John Bocchino alleges the fraternity allowed Evan Morris to drink alcohol even though he was only 20 years old, and fraternity members “continued to serve him alcoholic beverages when he was so visibly intoxicated,” according to the lawsuit filed in state Supreme Court in Schenectady County.

Morris began to get aggressive and loud, according to Bocchino. During the early morning hours of Sept. 30, Morris hit Bocchino in the face, seriously injuring him, the suit claims.

Bocchino said the 70-member fraternity failed to supervise people at the party. The lawsuit seeks unspecified monetary damages.

Bocchino is represented by attorney Peter J. Moschetti Jr. of the Latham law firm of Anderson, Moschetti & Taffany. Neither Bocchino nor his attorney could be reached for comment Thursday. Morris declined comment in response to a Facebook message.

Union spokesman Phil Wajda said the college has a policy of not commenting on pending litigation.

Numbers for local chapter officials could not be obtained. A representative for the national organization referred all comment to Donald Besson, who was out of the office on Thursday.

Chi Psi is one of the nation’s oldest fraternities, founded in 1841 at Union College. There are 30 chapters across the country, according to the college’s website. The fraternity had its own house on campus until 2004, when it was displaced by the new Minerva academic theme houses and moved off campus.

In 2005, Chi Psi was suspended for two years after an incident where a student drank so much alcohol he had to be hospitalized during Pledge Week.

Union College officials have tried to crack down on the problem of excessive drinking. In 2012, Newsweek ranked Union as the No. 5 party school.

In October 2011, Delta Delta Delta sorority had its housing and pledging privileges stripped after an incident where four students got so drunk they had to be taken to a hospital.

Last fall, the college implemented a policy that requires fraternities and sororities to register at least one week in advance if they are going to host on-campus parties. They must also send out invitations and check people at the door.

 
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