Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Phi Psi President at SIUE Posts Bomb Threat

Student’s behavior stirs SIUE concerns
Maria Baran

After a Southern Illinois University Edwardsville fraternity president was charged with making a bomb threat, a campus official said Friday the fraternity might need new leadership.

Andrew Stone, a 21-year-old junior, posted bond Thursday for his release from jail after he was charged with making a bomb threat on a social networking Web site.

On a Facebook page, the Phi Kappa Psi president reportedly made this comment: "I'm going to bomb the school because it's obvious we cannot co-exist."

The arrest came weeks after one of Stone's fraternity brothers, Brandon Rardin, painted a slur aimed at another fraternity on a large rock.

"The Rock," in the Stratton Quadrangle, is intended as a message board for friendly rivals among Greek organizations. "

Both Brandon Rardin and Andy Stone are members of the same fraternity," said John Davenport SIUE's coordinator of Greek life. "This is definitely something we're looking into -- what is going on in this organization now? Is there something here that is causing this stupid behavior?"

Davenport said he already has contacted the fraternity's national headquarters in Indianapolis. He said while talks between the university and the national group are in the preliminary stages, the chapter might need additional assistance from the university or a change in leadership.

University spokesman Greg Conroy said in addition to Stone's arrest, the dean of students is looking into the code of conduct for what disciplinary actions could be taken against him by the university.

"It could range anywhere from a slap on the hand to expulsion," Conroy said.Davenport said he was surprised when he found out about Stone's arrest.

"Knowing Andy, I don't think he intended violence," Davenport said. "He probably was just really thoughtless and did not think about how anybody could see this and how it could be taken by anybody else."

The alleged bomb threat came two days after the massacre at the campus of Virginia Tech.

Sophomore Laurie Estilette said it was poor timing for a bomb threat. [Duh!]

"There is never a good time, but especially such a short time, after something like that (Monday's shootings), you have to be prepared for people to take some things as seriously as possible," she said. "He did it to himself. Sorry, but someone has to be made an example of. There's really no excuse for it."

Estilette, who will serve as student senate president next year, said she does not think the entire fraternity should be held responsible for the actions of two of its members, but that it reflects badly on them.

"I think its reflecting poorly on our campus as a whole, so definitely it would look bad on Greek life," Estilette said. "It's a shame because the students are trying to strengthen Greek life and make it more appealing to incoming students, and things like this will definitely hurt that effort."

Last fall, another student faced disciplinary action after making slanderous remarks about a female student on Facebook.

Davenport said the university might look at the possibility of amending the student code of conduct to specifically mention online networking sites."It's a possibility. It's something that right now is a big issue in student affairs nationwide. It's technology that comes out of nowhere," he said.