University officials confirmed yesterday that the man who appears to have been involved in a hazing incident that occurred last Thursday is a member of a local fraternity.
UCSB Associate Dean of Students Joe Navarro said the man – who was treated at Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital for acute alcohol poisoning after losing consciousness in Isla Vista – is a member of Sigma Chi, a fraternity that recently lost its charter due to recurring violations of the university’s risk management policy. However, the I.V. Foot Patrol has not officially established whether the man, whose name has not been released, was participating in an incident of fraternity hazing.
IVFP Sgt. Craig Bonner said the 21-year-old Isla Vista resident was admitted to the hospital with an extremely high blood alcohol content. A subsequent investigation into the circumstances of his intoxication, Bonner said, led the IVFP to believe that he may have been drinking as part of a hazing ritual.
According to Navarro, Sigma Chi is no longer recognized by the university or the Inter-Fraternity Council as a chartered greek organization because of the fraternity’s past violations of UCSB policy.
Navarro said it is not yet clear if the intoxicated man was involved in a Sigma Chi hazing ritual or was drinking socially with friends. He said the university will not begin an investigation into the incident until the police finish their inquiry.
“Whatever we do, we don’t want to interfere with what the police are doing,” Navarro said.
Additionally, the incident may not fall under the jurisdiction of the university’s Office of Judicial Affairs, Navarro said. In order for his office to deal with the issue, he said, it must first determine whether the off-campus conduct in question threatened the man’s health or safety and whether it can be considered a hazing-related incident.
“I think the last time I looked, hazing has to be conducted by an organization,” Navarro said. “And we don’t know if an organization is involved.”
Sigma Chi Consul Travis Wong said the incident did not involve hazing: The active member simply became too drunk on his own accord.
“He’s already an active, so there’s no incident of hazing,” Wong said. “He’s a 21 year-old active brother and he got too drunk. I was involved in it – I was the first person called, and I went over to the house and saw that he was too intoxicated and made the decision to take him to the hospital.”
In addition to conducting its own investigation, Bonner said, the IVFP is currently working with the university to determine whether other punitive measures are necessary. He said no criminal charges have been filed in connection with the incident.
He said the IVFP’s investigation has been stalled, as the man is currently at home with his family recovering from the incident.
“We’re still just waiting and trying to interview the involved parties,” Bonner said.
Wong said the man is in much better health and will not suffer permanent damage due to the incident.
“There’s no long-term effects,” Wong said. “I’ve spoken to him since and he’s on his way to recovery.”
Inter-Fraternity Council President Kyle Hillstead could not be reached for comment as of press-time. In addition, Inter-Fraternity Council Internal Vice President Zack Bursley said he had only heard rumors about the incident and therefore could not provide any further comment at this time.