Three Geneseo Delta Kappa Tau fraternity brothers were arrested and charged with third degree assault for an alleged assault of a Geneseo student outside their fraternity house on Franklin Street on Friday Dec. 4. Offenders were senior John Wolff, junior Perry Neci and senior Yagizan Balta. According to the Genesee Sun, Neci was rearrested on Sunday Dec. 6 for third degree assault and fourth degree criminal mischief based on an earlier assault.
This is the second assault investigation at the DK fraternity house that has occurred within three weeks; the first occurring on Nov. 13. According to President Denise Battles’ email to the campus community, Geneseo has temporarily suspended the fraternity until the investigation and results of a conduct review are completed.
Village of Geneseo Police Chief Eric Osganian explained that the assault on Friday Dec. 4 occurred as the victim walked by the fraternity house after some insults were exchanged.
“Allegedly, victim’s walking by and a slur is used” Osganian said. “And I guess there’s an altercation with one DK member, it becomes then physical and then other DK members come out of the fraternity house and they help the one member and it becomes a possible three to five on one—we’re still looking at the number.”
Geneseo police received a complaint of the assault through a 911 call.
“When we arrived on scene, the victim is on the ground needing medical attention and then we hear some voices in the woods, the officers go into the woods and then a chase ensues and we end up catching the individuals,” Osganian said. “We brought them back to the scene and the victim positively identified three of being involved and hitting him and kicking him. There was also a fourth that we did apprehend that the victim said, ‘No, that person was not involved.’”
According to Osganian, the police believe the victim lost consciousness due to the beatings and was continually beaten while unconscious. The victim was sent to Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester with head injuries.
“The victim has a cracked bone eye socket as well as a broken nose,” Osganian said. “I think—depending what else is medically there—that might be enough to make it called a serious physical injury, which may bump it up to an assault second—which is a felony—and because there was more than one person involved in the assault, it would probably lead to a gang assault charge, but we’re still not there yet.”
Assistant Dean of Students for Fraternal Life and Off-Campus Services Wendi Kinney said that when an incident like this happens, it’s time to evaluate the education element within the Greek community.
“Those educational pieces are there but there’s always an opportunity when something like this happens to reflect and see if there a gap, to see if we can be doing more to educate the community, to be upstanding citizens and to make good decisions,” Kinney said. “And, most importantly, looking out for one another. I think that’s one of the values of the Greek community—that they’re there not just for their organization, but other organizations as well.”
Kinney said she believes that while this incident is upsetting, not all Greek members and organizations should be penalized for a few members’ behavior.
“Certainly, at a national level with fraternities and sororities, there’s a heightened awareness with looking at their activities … We always have to keep in mind the perspective that my office oversees 32 organizations, which comprise 27 percent of our student body—so approximately 1500-1600 students,” she said. “So to expect that every single one of them is always making the best decisions is kind of unrealistic given the size. So, unfortunately, situations are likely to occur where students are going to make poor decisions.”
In regard to the assault on Nov. 13, Osganian said that there have been some difficulties in getting information from the Geneseo campus.
“We had to get a subpoena for the first DK assault. That subpoena took us a little while to get the roster of names … We weren’t asking for racial information. I wasn’t asking for gender information, I was just asking for a roster information no different than if you ask me who are the officers that work here,” he said. “I didn’t feel like we were asking for specific, private information. College considers that private, which you know did delay us a good two weeks before we got that subpoena back.”
Osganian voiced his support for the temporary suspension of the DK fraternity.
“We’ve had two assaults there within three weeks. To me, it’s a pattern, there’s a problem,” he said. “It would be great if we got some help from the college to try and solve that problem or stop it. So yeah, we’re all for them getting involved, absolutely.”
DK president senior Bryce Wiley did not return The Lamron’s interview request.
According to Osganian, in addition to the two assault cases by DK members, Geneseo senior Colin Dahlberg was arrested for aggravated driving while intoxicated, possession of stolen property second and an added obstruction charge for delaying a patient’s care who needed the ambulance to take them to the hospital.
Osganian suspected that the rise in alcohol-related crimes is related to the decreasing amount of bars available.
“So we’re seeing more parties than we had years ago. You know people want to go out and they want to drink, so you know they’re hitting the parties instead of the bars,” he said. “But it’s hard to control some of these parties ... We hope with a bar atmosphere, at least you know the bar owner or bouncer would call if someone needed medical attention … So what we are seeing is a spike in the party as opposed to going to the bars.”