‘Shocking and Disappointing’ Hazing Incident Prompts Pledge Ban at CSUN

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File photo of a sign at Cal State Northridge. (Credit: KTLA)

File photo of a sign at Cal State Northridge. (Credit: KTLA)

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Several months after a CSUN 19-year-old fraternity pledge died during a hike in the Angeles National Forest, the university has banned Greek pledge activities, citing a new incident of "possible hazing."

The ban was first reported in the student newspaper on Thursday and detailed in an announcement from Dean of Students William Watkins posted Friday.

The new instance of alleged hazing involved Pi Kappa Alpha, according to Watkins, who called it "shocking and disappointing."

No details about the incident were provided by California State University Northridge.

The fraternity, which has been suspended by its national headquarters, was banned from chapter activities during the university’s ongoing criminal and administrative investigations, Watkins 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," Watkins said.

Because of the incident, all fraternities and sororities were ordered to stop pledging activities; those that continue "will be immediately suspended and subject to proceedings for removal of university recognition," Watkins said.

Under the ban, new pledges can be inducted into Greek groups if the university’s fraternity and sorority advisor is notified, but the newcomers cannot be subjected to pledge activity.

Armando Villa, 19, seen in a family photo, collapsed and died during a July 1, 2014, hike sponsored by a fraternity at CSUN.
Armando Villa, 19, seen in a family photo, collapsed and died during a July 1, 2014, hike sponsored by a fraternity at CSUN.

The university’s order comes four months after Armando Villa died during a hike that was part of a hazing ritual required for pledges by fraternity Pi Kappa Phi, which was subsequently shut down. He ran out of water on a very hot day and was not allowed to wear shoes during the hike, according to his family.

Watkins called Villa's death tragic, and said it prompted a review of "all applicable policies and procedures to ensure that the university’s zero-tolerance policy on hazing is clearly understood and followed."

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department has been investigating Villa's July 1 death.

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