There’s new information on the death of Fresno State student Philip Dhanens. The 18-year-old was a pledge for the fraternity Theta Chi. Fresno police say he was drinking alcohol at a party Friday night into Saturday morning at the off-campus fraternity house. He died on Sunday at St. Agnes hospital. The tragedy has silenced those in the Greek system at the college.
On the Labor Day holiday, evidence of weekend parties involving alcohol fill up a trash bin at one fraternity. Since the death of Dhanens on Sunday morning, Theta Chi International Fraternity has suspended its Fresno chapter. Subsequently, Fresno State has suspended its recognition of the fraternity.
A statement from Theta Chi says in part:
"The fraternity intends to fully cooperate with local authorities and the administration of California State University, Fresno to find out exactly what happened, and to determine what course of action to take next with respect to the local chapter."
While students and Greeks seem fearful of consequences that may come from this senseless death, friends of Dhanens' are grieving the loss of a terrific person.
“He was a big teddy bear guy. Loveable; everybody loved him. He always had a smile on his face,” said Tim Maples, his high school football coach.
Dhanens graduated from Garces, a Catholic school in Bakersfield. The six-foot, five-inch, 325 pound teen played football his senior year. CBS47 found game video of him during Garces' section final against Clovis North. He wore number 79 playing on the defensive line. Coach Maples says he came a long way in the one season he played.
“It was amazing to see the difference from the happy go lucky Philip that just loved everybody and everybody loved, to a guy who really competed on the football field,” said Maples.
His popularity on campus was maybe most evident when he won Prom King last spring. Back at Fresno State, students are sad to have lost one of their own.
“That kind of just goes to show it can happen to anybody,” said graduate student Paul Myers.
An autopsy and toxicology report will be performed on Dhanens.