UCI dissolves fraternity involved in hazing case

UC Irvine has officially disbanded its chapter of the Lambda Phi Epsilon fraternity nearly two years after the university put the group on suspension following the death of a pledge who was hurt in a football game.

Leslie Millerd Rogers, the communications director for student affairs, said Lambda Phi Epsilon had been given until Friday to appeal its cancellation and that no members had come forward. UCI put the fraternity on suspension in fall 2005, shortly after pledge Kenny Luong — a Cal Poly Pomona student — died of head injuries sustained in a football game with members of the fraternity.

“They were disbanded because of policy violations including hazing and physical abuse,” Rogers said.

Last week, Luong’s parents, Tony and Sophia Luong, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against UCI and the national and local chapters of Lambda Phi Epsilon. UCI media relations director Cathy Lawhon said the university’s decision to disband the fraternity was unrelated to the case.

The fraternity had 31 listed members when Cal Poly Pomona student Kenny Luong died in August 2005, in an incident that many viewed as a hazing ritual gone awry. The Luongs, in their lawsuit, said their son and other pledges had been coerced into playing football without safety equipment and that the fraternity members had brutally tackled and piled on them throughout the game.

Richard Cohn, the family’s attorney, could not be reached for comment Friday, but his firm issued a statement calling the football game a “thinly veiled” hazing.

Lawhon said none of the UCI students involved in the football game still attend the university, and that all of the fraternity’s former members might have graduated in the last two years.

Lambda Phi Epsilon, an Asian-American fraternity, formed a chapter at UCI in 1989 and won a reputation over the years for community service. The members raised money for tsunami relief in 2005 and regularly sponsored the nonprofit Asians for Miracle Marrow Matches. In May 2005, three months before Luong’s death, the fraternity won the UCI dean of students award for excellence in fundraising.

  • MICHAEL MILLER may be reached at (714) 966-4617 or at

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