Fraternity suspended following death of member

Coroner confirms time of death, says official cause of death will take two more months


JAYCE CARRAL, Evergreen reporter

The Gamma Chi chapter of Alpha Tau Omega (ATO) has been temporarily suspended following the opening of multiple investigations into the death of a WSU freshman.

Whitman County Coroner Annie Pillers confirmed in an email to The Daily Evergreen that Samuel Martinez, 19, died at 4:30 a.m. on Nov. 12.

According to a press release issued on Nov. 12 by the Pullman Police Department, the responders were dispatched at about 8:35 a.m. on Nov. 12 to the ATO fraternity house. The reporting party said Martinez was unconscious and not breathing, according to the press release.

Pullman Fire medics confirmed Martinez was deceased, according to the press release. Martinez’s death may have been alcohol-related, according to the press release.

Pillers said the investigation into the official cause of death will take about two more months.

According to an update issued on Nov. 13 by the Pullman Police Department, the investigation into Martinez’s death will continue. The incident does not meet the definition of hazing under RCW 28B.10.900, according to the update.

According to the Washington State Legislature, RCW 28B.10.900 defines hazing as an initiation method used by a student group or organization that can cause or is likely to cause bodily, mental or emotional harm.

ATO’s Gamma Chi chapter has been temporarily placed on loss of recognition status, according to a press release issued Nov. 18 by WSU President Kirk Schulz. Martinez was a member of the chapter, according to the press release.

According to press releases issued Nov. 12 by WSU’s Panhellenic Council and WSU’s Interfraternity Council, all Greek social events are suspended for the rest of the school semester.

According to Schulz’s press release, the Division of Student Affairs and ATO’s national headquarters have opened an investigation into the Gamma Chi chapter.

The Daily Evergreen has contacted the Interfraternity Council and was directed to contact the department of University Marketing & Communications by two different members of the council.