Prosecutors decline to file charges over death of a Cornell University freshman Antonio Tsialas

Police have said that no criminal charges will be brought in the death of a Cornell University freshman whose body was found in a gorge after he attended a fraternity rush party.

The body of Antonio Tsialas, 18, was discovered on the evening of October 26 inside the Fall Creek George, in a nature preserve in Ithaca, New York near the Cornell campus. 

In a statement on Monday, the Cornell University Police department said that its investigation involving 150 interviews had been unable to determine how Tsialas got to the gorge after a night of heavy drinking at a Phi Kappa Psi rush party, or why he was at the steep overlook.

Investigators said that they did not identify any evidence of foul play at the overlook, and the death remains accidental due to a fall from a height as classified by the medical examiner. 

Cornell freshman Antonio Tsialas, 18, was found dead in October after attending a Phi Kappa Psi rush party that involved heavy binge drinking games

Cornell freshman Antonio Tsialas, 18, was found dead in October after attending a Phi Kappa Psi rush party that involved heavy binge drinking games

His body was found in the Fall Creek George (above), in a nature preserve in Ithaca, New York near the Cornell campus

His body was found in the Fall Creek George (above), in a nature preserve in Ithaca, New York near the Cornell campus

The Tompkins County District Attorney’s Office determined that no criminal charges would be filed in connection with the case, CUPD said.  

On October 24 Tsialas got dinner with his parents who were visiting campus for First-Year Family Weekend then attended a ‘dirty rush’ party hosted by the fraternity Phi Kappa Psi. Such parties are a way for fraternities to recruit first year students outside of official fraternity rules.

After the party, the 18-year-old club soccer player failed to return to his dorm. Tsialas’ parents reported him missing the next day.

His body was found two days after the frat party at Fall Creek Gorge, which is located about a mile from the fraternity house at 129 Mary Ann Wood Drive, about a 20 minute walk. 

In a lawsuit filed in January, Tsialas’ parents accuse the university of turning a blind eye to the school’s hazing culture and they name many of the fraternity’s members, claiming they did nothing to save their son’s life. 

In their lawsuit, his family says that on the night of his death, Antonio and the other boys had gone through various rounds of drinking in the fraternity house.  

In a lawsuit filed in January, Tsialas' parents accuse the university of turning a blind eye to the school's hazing culture and they name many of the fraternity's members

In a lawsuit filed in January, Tsialas’ parents accuse the university of turning a blind eye to the school’s hazing culture and they name many of the fraternity’s members

This map shows where Antonio was last known to be in the evening of October 24, at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house. His body was found on October 26 at the Fall Creek gorge at a nearby nature preserve

This map shows where Antonio was last known to be in the evening of October 24, at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house. His body was found on October 26 at the Fall Creek gorge at a nearby nature preserve 

He had been at dinner with his mom then was picked up for a ‘Christmas in October’ rush party at the frat house, where new pledges were forced to complete seven drinking games in seven different rooms.  

There was a tropical room – where they had alcohol poured

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Jewish students file federal complaint against University of Illinois over ‘anti-Semitic harassment’

Jewish students and their supporters announced Friday the filing of a federal complaint alleging an “unrelenting campaign of anti-Semitic harassment” at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The complaint submitted in March with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights accused the university of allowing a “hostile environment to proliferate on campus,” citing an increase in swastikas, vandalism of menorahs and mezuzahs, and window-smashing at the Jewish fraternity house.

The document, which urged OCR to open an investigation, also said Students for Justice in Palestine’s members and supporters have harassed Jewish and pro-Israel students by calling them ‘Nazi’ and ‘White supremacist,’ and “converted mandatory UIUC diversity training into anti-Israel indoctrination.”

“Being a Jew at UIUC comes with immense hate and hostility” said UIUC student Ian Katsnelson in a statement. “First, as a senator on student government I’ve experienced shocking examples of anti-Semitism firsthand. I’ve been called a genocide supporter, a White supremacist, and harassed; all for being publicly Jewish. And all of this in front of the administration — who did nothing.”

Robin Kaler, UIUC associate chancellor for public affairs, said that the university “will never tolerate bigotry, racism or hate, and we condemn acts and expressions of anti-Semitism,” and that officials sought to address the problem after the complaint was submitted earlier this year to an accrediting organization.

“We were asked this summer to respond to the complaint,” said Ms. Kaler in an email. “After receiving our response, that organization determined that the allegations raised in the complaint do not indicate substantive noncompliance with their requirements and that no further review would be conducted.”

At the same time, she said, “the university has been engaged in a long, meaningful and what we believed was a collaborative discussion about the concerns raised by the involved parties, so it is very disheartening that they chose to stop engaging with us.”

“We are disappointed with the approach this group has taken to move our conversation to the media, but we are absolutely committed to an inclusive university community where everyone feels welcome,” Ms. Kaler said.

The complaint, which accused the university of violating Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, was prepared by Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP with the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, with the involvement of the Jewish United Fund and Hillel International.

“Jewish students at UIUC have been targeted for years,” said Brandeis Center President Alyza D. Lewin. “We gave UIUC seven months since the complaint was filed to address the ongoing harassment. In the face of continuous stall tactics and almost no action from the university, we decided to publicize our efforts.”

In addition to incidents of vandalism and swastikas, the complaint listed a September 2019 university-sponsored diversity training session that included a presentation entitled, “Palestine & Great Return March: Palestinian Resistance to 70 Years of Israeli Terror.”

The chancellor later condemned the “anti-Semitic content,” but the student government passed a resolution sponsored by SJP defending the presentation at a

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