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Cal State Chico suspends Greek groups after student alcohol death

November 16, 2012 |  6:51 am

Cal State Chico has suspended all Greek activities after a student celebrating his 21st birthday died from excessive alcohol consumption.

Cal State Chico President Paul Zingg announced Thursday that all fraternities and sororities are barred from recruiting students, hosting social events and displaying their Greek letters on their houses until the spring semester, according to the Chico Enterprise-Record.

Mason Sumnicht, a communication design major from San Diego, was found unresponsive last week at an apartment.

University officials said Sumnicht took 21 shots of alcohol to celebrate his 21st birthday. When he passed out in his own vomit, fellow fraternity members called 911.

Sumnicht was taken by ambulance to Enloe Medical Center and was removed from life support Thursday because he had severe, permanent brain damage, the newspaper reported.

"We're all going to make stupid choices, but you don't deserve to die if you make a stupid choice," Zingg said in a video interview with the Chico Enterprise-Record. "That's what concerns me a lot."

About 1,200 of the university's 16,470 students are involved in Greek organizations.

University officials said they warned fraternity and sorority leadership earlier this year about alcohol consumption, hazing, alleged assaults and other violations. Sumnicht was pledging to a fraternity at the time of his death, university officials said.

While he has fielded complaints from fraternity and sorority members that it is unfair to punish all Greek organizations, Zingg said those that prove they are leaders at the university and are not engaging in dangerous or prohibited behaviors will be able to be reinstated. 

"We fully expect that the folks who are exemplars in all that we're trying to accomplish will have no problem whatsoever in getting their suspended condition ended much sooner than later."


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-- Wesley Lowery

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