NORTHRIDGE (CBSLA.com) — All pledging activities for Cal State Northridge fraternities and sororities were terminated for the year by school officials Thursday evening after a fraternity was under investigation for a possible hazing incident.
A letter was sent by Vice President of Student Affairs William Watkins to fraternity and sorority presidents to "cease and desist" in their pledging activities.
"I am dismayed to report that CSUN has learned of a new instance of possible hazing in connection with new member pledge activities at a university fraternity," he said. "This most recent incident cuts to the core of the university's ability to have confidence that all recognized fraternities and sororities will conduct appropriate new member recruitment and intake procedures that ensure the safety and well-being of CSUN students. As such, and after consultation with President Harrison, I directed that all pledge activities immediately cease and desist."
A student pledging Pi Kappa Alpha contacted university officials last week regarding an incident that occurred at the frat house, which then prompted an investigation. Specific information involving the possible hazing incident was not available, but the fraternity was placed on interim suspension as officials investigate the circumstances.
"Its members will not be permitted to engage in any chapter activities pending the outcome of the university's criminal and administrative investigations, which are yet to be completed," Watkins wrote.
The fraternity was also suspended by its national headquarters.
The incident comes several months after 19-year-old Armando Villa died while pledging a different fraternity, Pi Kappa Phi. Villa lost consciousness while on a sponsored hike and later died at the hospital. His family believes the hike was an initiation that turned into hazing. The fraternity later voted to shut down the school's chapter.
"CSUN takes hazing allegations extremely seriously, and we are deeply committed to protecting the health and safety of all students," Watkins said. "Following Armando Villa's tragic death while on a fraternity-sponsored hike in the Angeles National Forest, CSUN reviewed all applicable policies and procedures to ensure that the university's zero-tolerance policy on hazing is clearly understood and followed."
Watkins said all future new member recruitment, intake/pledging and induction process will not be permitted through the fall or spring 2015 until adequate changes have been made.
David Arabyan and Harout Mikaelian told CBS2's Jeff Nguyen that they had been rushing two separate fraternities at Cal State Northridge but they say they're attempts to join frats are over.
"I feel completely cheated out of my whole college experience," Mikaelian said."
"This is what made college like fun for me. I can't imagine without it," Arabyan said.
The university is still allowing the induction of pledges as long as they're not going through pledge activities, Nguyen reported.
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