Sigma Alpha Epsilon Suspended After Freshman Dies at Rush Event
Noah Domingo’s Facebook profile picture. Photo Courtesy of Facebook.
By Caitlin Antonios and Ashley Duong with additional reporting by Ashley Alvarez.
The Orange County Coroner Division has confirmed the UCI student who passed away last weekend was 18-year-old Noah Domingo. According to Kim Mohr from the Irvine Police Department, authorities responded to a call at 9:42 a.m. on Saturday morning in the Turtlerock community where Domingo, a first year student from La Crescenta majoring in biological sciences, was found unresponsive and pronounced dead at the scene. Carrie Braun from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department confirmed the estimated time of death was around 3:30 a.m.
Domingo was attending a rush event hosted by UCI’s Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. Sources from within the Greek community who spoke to the New University under the condition of anonymity stated that drugs and copious amounts of alcohol were present at the party. It has not been confirmed whether they were a factor in Domingo’s death. Toxicology tests are in process and an investigation is underway. It is believed that Domingo was participating in a common hazing tradition in which pledges are given a fifth of alcohol that must be finished within a short amount of time. A fifth is usually an entire bottle of alcohol — approximately 750 milliliters or a fifth of a gallon. Police have not confirmed this information.
Following the incident, a statement from Chancellor Howard Gillman on Jan. 12 was sent out informing students and staff of the death. Interim Vice Chancellor Edgar Domingo addressed the UCI community the following afternoon to announce UCI Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s would be under interim suspension while the police investigation is conducted. Under the suspension, the fraternity is required to “cease all of its activities pending the investigation of the Irvine Police Department and review of the incident by the Office of Academic Integrity and Student Conduct.”
The Interim Vice Chancellor also wrote in his email that the school “will be working with the Greek community to help ensure they are engaging in behaviors and practices in alignment with university policies and their own values.” Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s suspension comes over a decade after the death of Kenny Luong, a UCI freshman who passed away in August of 2005 due to injuries sustained from a tackle football game. Luong was participating in the game while pledging for Lambda Phi Epsilon. Following Luong’s death, Lambda Phi Epsilon’s recognition as a campus organization was revoked in April of 2007 for violating sections 102.08 and 102.12 of University of California Policies Applying to Campus Activities, Organizations and Students (physical abuse and hazing). The former campus fraternity remains the only organization listed as having been dismissed by UCI.
Students have begun to lay flowers in memory of Domingo under the flagpoles in front of Langson Library. All students are invited to pay their respects.