Setting the record straight on the arrests of six students involved in Pally’s death

On the morning of Monday, February 27, the spirit rock near North Garage was painted with "Frat Lives Matter." Other fraternity members were quick to repaint the rock with the hashtag #WeAreUConn. (Olivia Stenger/ The Daily Campus)

News broke recently that arrests were made, somehow in connection to the case of Jeffny Pally, the University of Connecticut student killed by a UConn fire department vehicle.

The implication of this association is inherently disingenuous.

The truth of the matter – that six UConn students were arrested for permitting a minor to possess alcohol, specifically, Pally – is far more complicated. In fact, the students arrested, who are members of the Kappa Sigma fraternity that hosted the party Pally attended on the night of her death, have been positioned as scapegoats in this situation.

Elena Pevar, a third-semester nutritional sciences major who knew Jeffny Pally since 6th grade, is pictured here with Pally before senior prom at Hall High School in West Hartford in June of 2015. (Courtesy/Elena Pevar)

Elena Pevar, a third-semester nutritional sciences major who knew Jeffny Pally since 6th grade, is pictured here with Pally before senior prom at Hall High School in West Hartford in June of 2015. (Courtesy/Elena Pevar)

Although it’s difficult to tell the involvement of the university in the matter, since state police conducted the investigation, it seems apparent that the six students charged committed a crime with no victim. While witnesses did see Pally consume alcohol at the party, it was also found that she had already been drinking before she arrived, according to the Daily Campus. Any thinking person would agree that Pally’s death is not due to the fact that these fraternity brothers let people under 21 drink their booze.

If anything, Pally dying was an inexplicable, tragic accident.

Naturally, people want answers. Why did Pally fall asleep where she did? What happened leading up to her leaning against the fire department? And how can we make sure nothing like this ever happens again?

Friends of Pally's painted the rock across from the North Parking Garage on Monday night and left flowers. The front reads "Jeffny" with two angel wings and the back reads "Heaven gained an angel." (Contributed Photo)

That said, there is no excuse for burdening these six students with a meaningless mark on their records and misleading headlines, such as this one from CBS News, blaring: “6 UConn students charged in connection to death of student run over by fire vehicles.”

Hundreds of students gathered at Fairfield Way on Tuesday, October 18, in remembrance of Jeffny Pally, a sophomore allied health major who passed away over the weekend. (Akshara Thejaswi/The Daily Campus)

Hundreds of students gathered at Fairfield Way on Tuesday, October 18, in remembrance of Jeffny Pally, a sophomore allied health major who passed away over the weekend. (Akshara Thejaswi/The Daily Campus)

None of this nonsense matters. The crime these students have been labeled with is one that is perpetrated arguably every day at UConn, one that can happen either knowingly or unwittingly but will continue to happen, whatever the circumstances. What matters is a grieving family and a promising life cut short before the realization of its potential.

This does not excuse the misguided defense of these men, that being the painting of the words  “Frat Lives Matter” on the Spirit Rock. While, in this particular instance, the Editorial Board is of the opinion that these fraternity members were wrongfully punished, their arrests do not begin to compare to the police brutality faced by people of color in this country; the violence that spawned the Black Lives Matter Movement.

What this leaves us with is the conclusion that all parties involved must be more levelheaded. Fraternities should channel their frustration in more productive ways. State police shouldn’t be wasting resources on a full-length inquiry only to arrest six students for a common misdemeanor.

We only hope that Pally’s family will one day be able to mourn in peace.