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Michael Starks's brothers speak at alcohol awareness seminar



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SALT LAKE CITY -- The family of the Utah State University student who died of alcohol poisoning spoke to a group of University of Utah students Friday night.

Michael Starks, 18, was a Sigma Nu pledge last fall at Utah State University. On Nov. 21, he passed away at his fraternity house after drinking a lethal amount of alcohol at an off-campus party that included members of his fraternity and a sorority.

Jason Starks, Michael's older brother, said it was difficult to participate in the seminar but was an important opportunity to reach students.

A university official said the only thing more tragic than Michael's death would be to watch it happen again.

Jason Starks and his brother Georgie spoke to the group of University of Utah Greeks and urged them to watch out for one another.

"We are our brother's keeper, and we are socially responsible for others around us," Jason Starks said.

Jason Starks, Michael's older brother, said it was difficult to participate in the seminar but was an important opportunity to reach students.
Jason Starks, Michael's older brother, said it was difficult to participate in the seminar but was an important opportunity to reach students.

Erin Anthony, the woman who purchased the alcohol that was later given to an underage Starks, also spoke. Her message was one of standing up when you know a situation is wrong; something she said she wished she'd done. The Starks family said she was the only person involved that has ever taken responsibility for her actions.

"We know it takes a lot of courage for her to stand up and talk in front of her peers," said Jason Starks.

The timing of the presentation was no coincidence. School officials said students deal with heavy issues, especially in the first six weeks of their freshman year.

"I think students are going to be very receptive," said Assistant Dean of Students Jay Wilgus.

Thirteen students were charged in the case. Four were sentenced to jail time, including Erin Anthony.

Three had charges against them dismissed.

The Starks family is currently suing Utah State University, the attorney general has asked the suit be dismissed.

E-mail: sdallof@ksl.com

Sarah Dallof

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