Troubling history follows frat

Daily Staff Reporter
Published April 3, 2002

When a Zeta Psi fraternity member died last week, it was not the first party-related death the fraternity experienced in recent years. A member was found unresponsive in his apartment in 1998 after overdosing on alcohol and cocaine.

In September 1998, Chris Giacherio, then an LSA sophomore, was found unresponsive in his Packard Road apartment.

Witnesses told Ann Arbor Police that Giacherio had been taking heroin that evening, but later said he had been taking cocaine when toxicology reports from the Washtenaw County Medical Examiner attributed his death to an overdose of cocaine and alcohol.

Dustin Goodman, a member of Zeta Psi but not a University student, died last Friday at the fraternity house on East University Avenue. Members of Zeta Psi called police at 1:10 p.m. Friday after finding him unresponsive in the basement of the house.

According to the AAPD, there was no immediately apparent medical condition or trauma to the body that could have caused death. Goodman's autopsy report is expected to be released within the next couple of days.

Leaders in the Greek system do not think the incident will affect the system. Zeta Psi is not affiliated with the Interfraternity Council.

"Zeta Psi has not been a member of the Interfraternity Council and has operated autonomously for many years," IFC Executive Vice President Brad Coppens said. "While our sympathies go out to his friends and family, our feelings are that this tragedy should have no ill effects on the reputation of the Greek system," he added.

LSA sophomore David Jira, IFC vice-president of public relations, said the organization's Social Responsibility Committee was formed in order to ensure fraternity parties obey safety rules and regulations and protect students from alcohol poisoning.

Jira said members of the SRC randomly attend IFC-registered parties one to three times each night to check for sick students or alcohol that is being illegally handed out. The SRC also has the authority to shut down unregistered parties. Fraternities who hold illegal parties are subject to 15 weeks of social probation.

"We make sure all policies that the IFC has created are followed," he said. "Obviously, if the fraternity is not part of the IFC, we have no jurisdiction."

While police have not concluded that Goodman died during the party or as a result of the party, Jira said if the party did lead to the death, IFC rules may have prevented it.

"We wish the fraternity was a part of IFC, because the possibility does exist that if we were able to check that party, this may not have happened," he said.

Zeta Psi was known for weekly parties frequented by many residents of East Quad Residence Hall.

"That was the only (non-affiliated fraternity) that we are aware of that had a house," said Chris Kulka, a staff member in the Office of Greek Life.

Although some attendees of last week's party allege that Goodman may have been using heroin or cocaine, others disagree.

Jimmy Elia, owner of Jimmy's Sergeant Pepper's, friend and Goodman's employer did not think he used heroin.

"He does not do heroin," Elia said. "We were together almost every day."

Elia said he believes Goodman's death might have been connected to alcohol.

Many of Goodman's friends and acquaintances refused to comment. His wake was held yesterday at 6 p.m.

The Zeta Psi house at 1027 E. University Ave. is owned by the Xi Alumni Association of Zeta Psi.