A fraternity chapter based at San Diego State University has been suspended by both the university and its national chapter following confirmed violations of policies prohibiting hazing.
In addition to the hazing incidents, Gamma Theta says as a result of local chapter members' inability to meet the previous obligations of the local chapter, the owner of the chapter facility evicted all collegiate residents at the end of the fall 2019 semester, which ended on Dec. 31, 2019.
"SDSU Theta Chi alumni are disheartened at the destruction caused by some of the suspended members as they vacated the chapter house and will pursue appropriate action where necessary," said Ben Hill, Chief Communications Officer for the International Headquarters of Theta Chi Fraternity.
This is the first suspension issued by a fraternity's national chapter since the university suspended 14 fraternities associated with SDSU's Interfraternity Council (IFC), in November 2019, following the death of student Dylan Hernandez. It is not known whether or not the national chapter's decision has any relation to the death of Hernandez.
At the time of Hernandez's November death, six IFC-affiliated organizations were already under suspension and four other IFC-affiliated organizations were under investigation, resulting in only four of the 14 IFC-affiliated organizations at the school not under any level of elevated judicial status.
The incident surrounding Hernandez's death would mark the 11th organization to be on interim suspension or under investigation at SDSU. This factored into President de la Torre’s decision to suspend all remaining chapters.
“Given the severity of this incident, and as the safety and wellbeing of students is a primary concern of the university, SDSU President Adela de la Torre has suspended the Interfraternity Council (IFC) and all chapter organizations under the council,” a statement read following the November incident.
In a Jan. 19 statement, the university said, "while the University Police’s investigation focuses on potential criminal activity, SDSU maintains other processes that are investigative in nature. Regarding the investigation of the Interfraternity Council and its members, the university is investigating alleged conduct violations."
Following the incident leading to Hernandez's death, SDSU President Adela de la Torre created two task force groups to identify ways to "enhance the SDSU student experience to help ensure student safety and success given awareness of nation-wide issues related to student alcohol and other drug abuse."
On Jan. 24, SDSU announced the task force has, to date, recommended three changes to school policies that were immediately adopted by the school.
The changes include establishing a Good Samaritan Policy, removing conduct penalties for certain alcohol or drug violations, recruitment time constraints for IFC-affiliated organization recruiting events, limiting recruiting events to take place between 9 a.m and 9 p.m. and extended acknowledgment of existing hazing policies.
The requirement relating to time constraints goes into place effective for all councils in Fall 2020. According to the university's website, the Spring 2020 recruitment period is February 2 through February 11, 2020 and only organizations that are recognized or recognized with conditions will be able to recruit members during that period.
The incident leading up to Hernandez's death is still under investigation by SDSU's University Police Department.