Statement from William Watkins, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students at California State University, Northridge (CSUN), Regarding Termination of All New Member Pledge Activity

I am dismayed to report that CSUN has learned of a new instance of possible hazing in connection with new member pledge activities at a university fraternity. As a result, effective immediately, all fraternities and sororities must terminate all pledging activities. Chapters that continue pledge activities will be immediately suspended and subject to proceedings for removal of university recognition.

The fraternity involved in the alleged hazing incident, Pi Kappa Alpha, has been placed on interim suspension by the university. Its members will not be permitted to engage in any chapter activities pending the outcome of the university’s criminal and administrative investigations, which are yet to be completed. Pi Kappa Alpha also has been placed on administrative suspension by its national headquarters.

CSUN takes hazing allegations extremely seriously, and we are deeply committed to protecting the health and safety of all students. Following Armando Villa’s tragic death while on a fraternity-sponsored hike in the Angeles National Forest, CSUN reviewed all applicable policies and procedures to ensure that the university’s zero-tolerance policy on hazing is clearly understood and followed.

As President Dianne F. Harrison said last month, CSUN is committed to taking all steps necessary now and in the future to protect all our students. The university implemented several changes to strengthen the procedures relating to the recruitment, intake and initiation of all new members into fraternities and sororities, as well as any other student clubs or organizations that engage in similar recruitment activities.

It is shocking and disappointing that this conduct persists after all the efforts undertaken by so many this fall to ensure a recruitment-and-intake process that conforms to the university’s zero-tolerance policy on hazing. 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. As such, and after consultation with President Harrison, I directed that all pledge activities immediately cease and desist.

The status of current pledges will be determined by each chapter in consultation with their national headquarters, if applicable. The university does not object to the induction of pledges, but they shall not be made subject to further pledge activity. Chapters choosing to induct current pledges must notify the university’s Fraternity and Sorority Advisor. Plans are currently under way for President Harrison to address the leadership of the Greek community to discuss the university’s expectations and directive to eliminate hazing at CSUN.

Future new member recruitment, intake/pledging and induction processes will not be permitted until the university has been convinced that adequate changes have been made and will be adhered to. At this time, there will be no spring 2015 new member intake activities. We regret that it is necessary to intervene in this manner with new member processes, however, the safety and well-being of our students is paramount.