Fraternity Faces Hearing in Alleged Hazing of Pledge

A fraternity at Cal State Northridge faces a disciplinary hearing after the alleged hazing of a pledge who got so drunk at a house party that he was rushed to the hospital in convulsions, a university spokesman said.

The April 29 incident, at the off-campus Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house, involved a 20-year-old pledge whom the university would not identify. The student said he had nine or 10 drinks in less than an hour at the behest of fraternity members, said campus spokesman John Chandler.

"The victim's account is that he and other pledges were directed to go through a regimen of activities that included being given repeated drinks," Chandler said. "From his perspective, he was expected to drink them. He did."

Besides drinking, the activities at the Keswick Street fraternity house in Reseda included "jumping up and down and saying things," Chandler said.

"From the university's point of view, this was an activity that appears to be one of hazing," Chandler said.

The Interfraternity Council Judicial Board will hold a hearing on the issue. A date has not been set.

Referral to the Interfraternity Council came after a four-month probe that included interviewing about 50 witnesses, said Chandler, who was designated by Cal State Northridge administrators to handle all inquiries on the matter.

Although hazing is outlawed in California, campus police declined to pursue criminal charges against the fraternity because of conflicting accounts of the event.

A spokesman for the national office of Sigma Alpha Epsilon in Evanston, Ill., denied the hazing charges, but acknowledged that there was substantial drinking at the fraternity that night.

National Sigma Alpha Epsilon spokesman Benjamin Lewis said alcohol has been outlawed in the house and the chapter put on probation for a year.

Lewis and Chandler said that the student had been drinking before he arrived at the fraternity house.

If the fraternity is found to have violated campus alcohol guidelines, punishment could range from no action to probation, suspension or other sanctions.

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