This article was originally published by the Cornell Daily Sun on Dec. 1.
ITHACA, NY -- The Cornell University Police Department is concluding the over a year-long investigation into the death of first-year Antonio Tsialas in November 2019, the department announced Monday night.
In a Facebook post written by Cornell Police Chief David Honan, the department reported conducting approximately 150 interviews and investigating “nearly 100 other individual leads.” Tsialas left a “dirty rush” party at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house on Oct. 24, 2019, and his body was found in Fall Creek Gorge two days later.
“Investigators were not able to determine Tsialas’ path of travel or why he was at the overlook,” the statement read. The department has concluded that there was no evidence of foul play, and Tsialas died from “accidental death due to a fall from height.”
Phi Kappa Psi’s recognition was permanently revoked earlier this semester, and CUPD wrote that 31 students were referred to the Judicial Administrator’s office. Members of the fraternity “hosted Tsialas and other potential new member invitees, provided them with alcohol, and encouraged them to participate in a variety of drinking games, violating a number of Cornell policies,” the post said.
Outcomes of these proceedings are private under federal law, the post said.
Cornell’s hazing website entry lists that sanctions for Code of Conduct violations have included suspensions, deferred suspensions, probations and reprimands, but specific outcomes are private.
The Phi Kappa Psi fraternity was banned from hosting events at the time of the Oct. 23 “dirty rush” party due to prior infractions, and also violated the bar on inviting “potential new members” to social events. These students navigated multiple rooms where they were given hard alcohol, some to the point of “blacking out, disorientation, and vomiting,” the report found, but host members did not call for medical attention.
A lawsuit brought by the Tsialas family for negligence against Cornell University was discontinued, according to court documents signed Nov. 27. Honan wrote in the post that the Tsialas family was briefed about the closing of the investigation on Nov. 20.
The Tompkins County District Attorney’s office did not file any criminal charges related to Tsialas’s death.