Saturday, May 24, 2008

More SDSU Fraternities Ousted

Two SDSU Frats Are Outsed for Violations
Alcohol, hazing incidents are cited
By Sherry Saavedra

COLLEGE AREA – Greek life may be somewhat diminished at San Diego State University this fall.

Two fraternities, Lambda Chi Alpha and Delta Sigma Phi, were expelled yesterday for alcohol and hazing violations, respectively, just as two other fraternities are on interim suspension resulting from the largest drug sting in university history.

Delta Sigma Phi was expelled after three pledges kidnapped a fraternity member during a recent initiation week by putting him in a chokehold that knocked him unconscious, SDSU spokesman Jack Beresford said. They bound the man with duct tape, forced beer down his throat and drove him around for 45 minutes before dropping him off on Mission Gorge Road, Beresford said.

“The person kidnapped felt in fear for his life,” he said.

His wallet was taken, and money was missing when it was retrieved, Beresford said. The fraternity member contacted university police.

An investigation revealed a pattern of hazing throughout initiation week, Beresford said, adding, “This was not just a singular incident.”

Lambda Chi Alpha was expelled for violating the terms of its interim suspension by having alcohol at a social function when a fraternity member living in an apartment on Fraternity Row had an unauthorized party.

The fraternity had been placed on interim suspension after an incident in March when pledges were blindfolded and drinking, and one subsequently fell from a second-floor balcony and injured his neck, Beresford said. The fraternity received a second interim suspension after the yearlong drug investigation, which led to scores of student arrests.

The expulsions revoke recognition of the fraternities on campus as organizations for at least four years.

Gabriel Ruiz, chapter president of Delta Sigma Phi, said the May 1 kidnapping was an outdated tradition that hadn't taken place in years but should have been fun, not dangerous.

He said the fraternity members had been hazing the pledges all week.

“Nothing serious that would hurt you in any way – maybe stuff you'd consider gross,” Ruiz said. He said most fraternities at SDSU and elsewhere haze, even if they won't talk about it.

Ruiz disputed that the kidnapping victim was forced to drink alcohol, but said the incident shouldn't have taken place.

Ruiz said the victim reported the incident three days later, after he felt betrayed that his fraternity sided against him by allowing the pledges involved to become members.
“He never explained to us the severity of the problem,” Ruiz said.

The three pledges involved were arrested, Beresford said.

About 3,000 SDSU students, or 12 percent of undergraduates, are members of fraternities or sororities. There were 49 Greek organizations before the expulsions. Delta Sigma Phi had 29 members and Lambda Chi Alpha 37.

Both fraternities had houses and apartments on Fraternity Row. The houses, which are essentially common areas, are owned by their alumni associations. Apartments are owned and leased by the SDSU Research Foundation, a university auxiliary.

Lambda Chi Alpha alumni adviser Bob Alexander said he believes fraternities will begin to think twice about having a house on Fraternity Row.

“The fraternity can't control what goes on in the apartments,” Alexander said, adding that people who aren't fraternity members live there. “We can't kick people out of the apartments because all the leasing is done by the university foundation.”

In this case, he said, the unauthorized party included some fraternity members, but many nonmembers as well.

Meanwhile, Phi Kappa Psi and Theta Chi are on interim suspension after the drug investigation.