Greek chapters honor anniversary of Sam Martinez’s death with dry weekend

WSU fraternities and sororities suspend all events, discourage drinking in recognition of Sam Martinez



Sam Martinez died Nov. 12, 2019, after participating in a “Big-Little reveal night” with members of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity.

ANNA MICHALSON, Evergreen reporter

Two years later after Sam Martinez’s death, the WSU Greek community is finding ways to honor his memory and keep the tragedy in the forefront of students’ minds by putting on a “dry” weekend. 

Martinez, a member of the now-suspended Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, died from alcohol poisoning after a pledge event held at the house on Nov. 12, 2019.

Kate Carlson, Gamma Phi Beta chapter president, said the Panhellenic and Interfraternity councils, along with other chapter presidents, decided to create a “dry” weekend Nov. 11-13 to honor the death of Sam Martinez.

“We knew that we wanted to do something out of respect for Sam during this time,” Carlson said.

During the dry weekend, no registered Greek events were held and drinking was highly discouraged among the entire Greek community. 

Nick Foseid, Delta Tau Delta fraternity chapter president, said he believes it was in good taste to be dry this weekend. 

“It is definitely inappropriate to be drinking on the anniversary of what happened,” he said. “You shouldn’t just brush that under the rug and forget about it. We need to remember that so we can remember the danger of what can happen if we are careless.”

Both Carlson and Foseid said they hope that this weekend will become a WSU tradition in years to come, but there have been no formal talks on making this decision permanent. 

Foseid said he thinks this weekend is a good start at honoring Sam’s memory, but more can always be done. 

“There’s a multitude of ways we can remember him. I think just talking about him and what happened is a really good start,” he said. 

Ahead of the dry weekend, Foseid showed the news report and body cam footage of the incident to his chapter during their weekly meetings. Many members of his fraternity knew Sam personally, and Foseid said everyone took the matter very seriously. 

Following Martinez’s death, the Greek community responded by updating some policies and expected behaviors, Carlson said. One of the biggest policy changes was that Greek chapters are no longer permitted to provide hard alcohol to attendees at any registered event. 

Carlson said there were some concerns regarding the updated policies and expected behaviors among the Greek community, but that most everyone has respected the new policies and changes.

“A lot of us had concerns about people not understanding these rules, because yes, we had core guidelines, but people were all separate,” she said. “There wasn’t really a sense of like, unified rules.”

Carlson said her chapter, along with many other Greek chapters, spent time with their Greek sisters and brothers this weekend. 

“We planned sisterhoods and fun things so we can all be together during this time,” she said. 

Friends and communal support are important. Foseid said his members took this time to rest up, do homework and spend time with friends and loved ones. 

Both Foseid and Carlson said Sam Martinez will never be forgotten at WSU. His death is a reminder to WSU to always look out for one another and express care for those who are important to you.