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WSU fraternity suspended during investigation of freshman’s death

UPDATED: Mon., Nov. 18, 2019

Students cross Stadium Way on the Washington State University campus in Pullman on Monday, Aug. 19, 2019, the first day of the fall semester. (Libby Kamrowski / The Spokesman-Review)
Students cross Stadium Way on the Washington State University campus in Pullman on Monday, Aug. 19, 2019, the first day of the fall semester. (Libby Kamrowski / The Spokesman-Review)

Washington State University has imposed a nonpunitive suspension on a fraternity chapter following the death of a 19-year-old freshman at a party last week.

In a statement Monday, WSU President Kirk Schulz said the school “placed an interim loss-of-recognition status” on the Alpha Tau Omega house following the Nov. 12 death of Samuel Martinez.

WSU spokesman Phil Weiler said the suspension began Friday and will last until school officials finish investigating the incident.

“It’s not a sanction,” Weiler said. “We haven’t come to a determination in regards to the investigation.”

Martinez, who grew up in Bellevue, was a member of Alpha Tau Omega and was unconscious when first responders arrived at the house. Police said alcohol likely was a factor in his death.

In his statement, Schulz pointed to WSU’s good Samaritan policy, which allows students to seek help from authorities when peers over-consume alcohol or drugs without facing disciplinary action related to alcohol or drugs.

“While ensuring the safety of the entire WSU community remains one of our highest institutional priorities, we can – and must – do more,” Schulz said. “For example, while incoming WSU students already are required to complete mandatory alcohol and safety training, we will revisit this policy and others in an effort to strengthen them.”

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