Hazing News

Danny Santulli tragedy and lawsuit

Danny Santulli, Fiji pledge on life supportCOLUMBIA, Mo. — The parents of a Minnesota man allege in a lawsuit that he has been unresponsive and requires constant medical care since being forced to drink a bottle of vodka at a fraternity at the University of Missouri.
Daniel Santulli, 19, of Eden Prairie, Minnesota, was found in cardiac arrest inside a car at University Hospital on Oct. 20, according to the lawsuit. His blood alcohol content was 0.486%, more than six times the legal limit for driving, the Columbia Missourian reported.
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The lawsuit contends Santulli and the rest of his pledge class at Phi Gamma Delta were each forced to drink a bottle of hard liquor, given to them by their “pledge fathers.”
Santulli remains “unresponsive, unaware of his surroundings, unable to communicate and (with) a significant injury to his brain,” according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit names the national Phi Gamma Delta organization and individual members of the Missouri chapter.
The national fraternity and university both suspended the Missouri chapter following Santulli’s hospitalization.
Ron Caudill, the fraternity’s national executive director, said in a statement that the fraternity is reviewing the lawsuit.
“We expect all chapters and members to follow the law and abide by the fraternity’s policies, which prohibit hazing and the provision of alcohol to minors,” he said.
Attorney David Bianchi, the family’s attorney who specializes in hazing litigation, said Santulli’s injury was not an isolated event.
“These are part of a pattern of unsafe and dangerous behavior that represents the traditions of the fraternity,” he said.
Since 2017, Phi Gamma Delta, also known as Fiji, has six documented violations of alcohol distribution policies and two hazing violations at Missouri, according to university records.


By Hank Nuwer

Hank Nuwer is the Indiana-based author of Hazing: Destroying Young Lives; Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His new book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press.

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