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Fraternity Hazing Suit Settles

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Lawyers for the family of Jack Phoummarath, a UT freshman who died in a binge-drinking episode, say they've settled their lawsuit against a fraternity and some of its members. (At least that's who we're assuming they've settled with, since that''s who they sued; the announcement doesn't specify, and the lawyers haven't responded to our question.)

Details will come at a press conference tomorrow, along with the announcement of a new program to curb underage and binge drinking.

Phoummarath, in case you've forgotten, was undergoing the pledge process for Lambda Phi Epsilon in Austin almost three years ago. He died of acute blood poisoning with a blood alcohol content level of .50. That's right -- point-five-oh.

The Phoummarath family has used the proceeds of the settlement to fund a website and educational video.

"We do not want Jack's death to be in vain, and by this educational program, we hope to save families in the future from the great despair we have suffered from the loss of our youngest son," says Khongsavay Phoummarath, Jack's dad.

The family says the educational video should not be construed as anti-Greek. Three frat members who were indicted in the incident participated in the making of the video (as part of their plea agreement, it should be pointed out).

The Phoummarath family seems to be trying hard to make something good out of the tragedy; let's hope fraternities and sororities do as well. Point-five-oh does no one any good.

-- Richard Connelly

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