- A University of California-Irvine fraternity has been suspended after a member was found dead.
- Sigma Alpha Epsilon was barred from all activities as authorities investigate the death of 18-year-old Noah Domingo, who was found dead in an off-campus house Saturday.
- The frat held a winter rush event the night before, which Domingo had attended, according to The Los Angeles Times.
The University of California-Irvine chapter of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity has been suspended as authorities investigate the death of a freshman member.
After police found 18-year-old Noah Domingo unresponsive and not breathing at his home near campus Saturday afternoon, the university sent an email to students with limited details about the ongoing investigation.
Later, a follow-up letter from the school’s head of Student Affairs confirmed the fraternity’s interim suspension, which barred all activities until the investigation is finished.
.@UCIrvine working with law enforcement to investigate off-campus STUDENT death. E-mail to community says Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity has now been placed on interim suspension. Working on details. @ABC7 #UCIrvine #SAE pic.twitter.com/og1E3HFFxv
— Greg Lee (@abc7greg) January 14, 2019
Domingo’s cause of death remains unclear and is pending further tests, according to multiple reports.
KABC reported that Domingo’s father, Dale, was called to campus on Monday to clean out the student’s dorm room.
“Devastating to have to clear out your kid’s clothes,” he told KABC. “Walked in there and first thing I did was grab his pillow and pretty much just cry and weep a little bit.”
Mike Sophir, chief executive officer of the national chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon said in a statement released to the Times that the organization was “heartbroken” over Domingo’s death, and headquarters had officially suspended all chapter operations during the investigation.
The Los Angeles Times reported the fraternity had held an event Friday night as part of its winter rush, which a member had confirmed Domingo attended. The school’s winter term began last week.
UC Irvine reportedly doesn’t have a traditional fraternity row, and Sigma Alpha Epsilon does not have a house on campus.
A neighbor of Domingo’s told NBC Los Angeles that he wasn’t surprised by the news. He had reportedly called police about noise at the house on Friday and Saturday night, saying that “something happened because all of the sudden I heard a lot of cars disappear.”
More than 77 fraternity-related deaths have occurred across the country since 2005, according to a December 2018 CNN report.
Penn State sophomore Timothy Piazza’s death in February 2017 after consuming 18 drinks in 90 minutes in a hazing ritual set off a legal battle and public campaign led by his parents, who said the fraternity members who called for medical attention fourteen hours after he arrived at the event had treated him like “roadkill.”
After an extensive grand jury report and review of video footage from inside the house, 26 former Beta Theta Pi brothers were charged in relation to Piazza’s death.
Forty-four US states and the District of Columbia have anti-hazing laws, most of which impose minor charges and fines if an individual is convicted in connection to a hazing incident.