Fresno State students are gathering Tuesday night to mourn the death of one of their own. Philip Dhanens, a Theta Chi pledge, died over the weekend after a night of heavy drinking. His cause of death has not been determined.
Thousands of students are back on campus after a long Labor Day weekend and many are feeling the absence of an 18-year-old freshman. Dhanens died over the weekend after drinking heavily at the Theta Chi fraternity house.
“Students are definitely concerned. They've expressed their sympathy and support. This is a tragedy that effects each of us,” said Arthur Montejano, A.S.I. President.
Black ribbons are worn in remembrance and will be given out at a vigil Tuesday night. Meanwhile, the investigation continues into what led to his death. The Fresno County Coroner says an autopsy Tuesday morning showed no physical abnormalities, meaning Dhanens didn't choke on his own vomit or hit his head. A toxicology report, expected to be complete Friday, could reveal more.
“If you have a blood alcohol level of 0.4 or above, we don't have to find anything else to figure out why a person expired,” said Dr. David Hadden, Fresno County Coroner.
Dhanens' girlfriend heard he drank two bottles of rum. According to Fresno police, he was put into a room to sober up and was later found unconscious. A member of a student group that promotes responsible drinking believes Dhanens' death may save other students.
“Unfortunately, it's not until something bad happens that people hop on board on a campaign. We've been doing this a while and we'll continue to invest our entire efforts to hopefully prevent this from occurring again,” said Rosendo Iniguez of Drug and Alcohol Awareness & Wellness Guides.
He says signs of alcohol poisoning include:
Pale or blue skin
Irregular breathing and/or heartbeat
Loss of consciousness
While students prepare to remember a life lost, some may be thinking twice about their own actions in the future.
The vigil is Tuesday at in the Free Speech area at Fresno State. Students and members of the community are welcome.