CHICO — Chico State University suspended all Greek activities Thursday after the death of a student who drank too much alcohol while celebrating his 21st birthday.
Campus President Paul Zingg said fraternities and sororities will be barred from recruiting students or having social events until the spring semester. They also will have to cover or remove Greek letters from their houses during the suspension, according to the Chico Enterprise-Record.
Sumnicht, a communication design major, was found unresponsive at an apartment last week after a night of drinking at downtown Chico bars with friends. The San Diego native was taken by ambulance to Enloe Medical Center and placed on life support after being treated for extreme alcohol poisoning.
Sumnicht was pronounced dead from an alcohol overdose Thursday, according to the Butte County Coroner’s office.
CSU officials would not comment on any fraternity affiliation for Sumnicht, but the campus newspaper The Orion reported that he was pledging the Sigma Pi fraternity this semester.
In addition to the young man’s death, school officials said there have been other recent problems involving fraternities and sororities, including allegations of hazing, sexual assaults and drinking with potential new members.
Students don’t get a “free pass” for allowing a brother to drink 21 shots on his 21st birthday and “pass out in his vomit,” said Zingg, speaking to a gathering of the Greek community in the Bell Memorial Union Auditorium.
Zingg said he had demanded changes from campus Greeks seven years ago when a student died during a fraternity hazing incident and there was a riot in downtown Chico. Things improved greatly, but the situation has deteriorated recently.
“I don’t think it’s fair to generalize us all into the negative group,” Courtney Wessel, a member of the sorority Sigma Omega Phi, told the Chico Enterprise-Record.