NEW YORK- Cornell University is planning reforms to its Greek life system as it investigates the puzzling death of a first-year student following an unauthorized fraternity party last month, the Ivy League school’s president said Tuesday.
The body of Antonio Tsialas was found in an Ithaca gorge Oct. 26. Authorities said he was last seen two days earlier, when he attended an unregistered and unsupervised party where there was alcohol.
In a letter to the campus community Tuesday, President Martha Pollack said university police have since followed more than 170 leads and conducted numerous interviews but still do not know the circumstances surrounding the Miami, Florida, student’s death.
Tsialas’ parents have come forward with a $10,000 reward for information about their son’s disappearance, which happened during “First-Year Family Weekend” while they were in town.
“We spoke of how happy he was at Cornell and all of his exciting future plans,” John and Flavia Tsialas wrote in a Facebook post offering the financial incentive.
“As a parent we want to know the TRUTH about what happened to him and who was with him that night. What occurred at that fraternity party? Who left with Antonio that night? Who was with him when he died? Why was he found so far from his dormitory? These are questions that we have and we cannot rest until we have the answers,” the parents wrote above a picture of their son playing soccer.
University police have said no foul play is suspected.
Cornell earlier this month suspended the fraternity that had the party, pending formal judicial proceedings.
It was at least the sixth suspension of a Greek organization at Cornell in the past 18 months for conduct violations. Because of the pattern, Pollack said she would announce additional reforms before the semester ends.
“While there are many important benefits to Greek life at Cornell, there is also a continuing and disturbing pattern of activity that violates our policies and threatens the health and safety of our students,” she wrote.
Pollack last year announced a series of changes to Greek life following the suspension of a fraternity for three years for hazing violations. She said at the time the reforms would be phased in through fall 2021, when all residential fraternities and sororities will be required to have a full-time, live-in adviser.