PSU news by
Penn State's student blog



ATΩ Fights Dado Furnishing Charge

Alpha Tau Omega is currently in court, having been charged with furnishing alcohol to Joe Dado the night of September 19, 2009. As we all know, Dado was found dead behind the Steidle building after a 36-hour search. The fraternity has pled not guilty to that charge, claiming that the party Dado and his friends attended was not an official ATΩ-sponsored event.

Fraternities have pled guilty to furnishing alcohol to minors so frequently that the judge handling the case, Thomas King Kistler, said he has “never had to struggle with this issue at trial.” ATΩ’s defense attorney, Kathleen Yurchak, claims that certain members of ATΩ acted independently of the fraternity in hosting the party.

There was no testimony whatsoever that this was an ATΩ-registered event. There was no testimony it was sanctioned, or in any way funded [by ATΩ]. What [testimony] did show was that there were people drinking beer. That’s not enough to hold the corporation responsible for the actions of its members.

There were no bartenders at the party; the beer was in tubs, and thus, who was served alcohol was not regulated. Greek Life Director Roy Baker also testified that Dado and his friends were wearing IFC rush wristbands, which meant they could get into the party but not necessarily that the could drink. However, prosecutor Nathan Boob noted that the beer at the party was purchased with ATΩ money. Yurchak argued that individual members, acting on their own, may have used the fraternity name at W.R. Hickey in order to get a “fraternity discount” on the beer.

Penn State spokeswoman Lisa Powers said that the University couldn’t speculate on a verdict. However, she did stress the issue of accountability for those at fault in cases like this.

The University is supportive of the use of all appropriate means, including the local courts, for holding members of the University community accountable for misbehavior if found guilty. These public means help reinforce our expectations about behavior, alcohol misuse, and personal responsibility among our students and they do, of course, underscore the serious consequences of high-risk drinking.

As of yet, ATΩ could not be reached for comment.

If a few individuals were acting independently of ATΩ, who should be charged? There are such a high number of clear-cut cases where fraternities did furnish alcohol to minors and admitted to it in court, but is this case any different, and what makes it so?

There are a lot of questions yet to be answered in the case, and we’ll see how it plays out both in court and in the Penn State community.


About the Author

Dan McCool

Dan is a senior and has been writing for Onward State since January 2010. Did you miss him? Nah, neither did we. He's returning after a semester abroad in England and will be serving as Arts Editor. Favorite things in life include references to The Big Lebowski.


More by Dan

Erase Your Expectations: Dan McCool’s Senior Column

Don’t worry about what you should be doing, or how what you’re doing is going to fit into the cadre of college—or Penn State, for that matter—predetermined by our culture. Go make your own Penn State, without any expectations; you’ll be much happier.

After Condom Spat, UPUA Approves Funding for Sexual Violence Prevention & Awareness Month

UPUA Is Walking to Harrisburg, Not Much Else


Big Ten Releases Men’s And Women’s Basketball Schedules

Penn State men’s basketball will kick off the Big Ten’s first-ever 20-game conference stretch with a pair of games in early December, while the Lady Lions have a slate featuring games against five NCAA Tournament teams at home.

Penn State Hockey Releases 2018-19 Roster

Penn State Women’s Soccer Sophomores Start Season Strong

Penn State Women’s Soccer Beats Duquesne 6-0

Shea Moyer Lifts Penn State Women’s Soccer Past West Virginia 1-0

Student Life

Staff Picks: Grabbing A Drink With A Prominent Penn Stater

If you had the chance to hear about Penn State from (or throw down at a State College bar for a night with) some of its most prominent figures, who would you want to grab a beer with?

Freshman 101: Helpful Links

Nominations Now Open For Gender-Neutral Homecoming Court

Plans Submitted For New KFC In State College

Developers have submitted preliminary land development plans to build a new KFC restaurant at 1780 S. Atherton St. in State College.

Mayor Don Hahn Plans To Veto Overnight Parking Restrictions In Highlands Neighborhood

Those in favor of the ordinance plan to consider overturning the veto at a special meeting next Monday.

Video Recovery, Alcohol Education The Focus As New Preliminary Hearing Begins For Former Beta Theta Pi Brothers

Seven former Beta Theta Pi brothers were back in court on Tuesday for another preliminary hearing  in the Penn State fraternity hazing case stemming from the 2017 death of pledge Timothy Piazza.

Be the first to know

  • Top posts and the best Penn State stories

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

Staff Picks: Grabbing A Drink With A Prominent Penn Stater

If you had the chance to hear about Penn State from (or throw down at a State College bar for a night with) some of its most prominent figures, who would you want to grab a beer with?

Send this to a friend