A medical examiner in Washington state announced grim news regarding the death of Sam Martinez, a 19-year old student at Washington State University. Hailing from Bellevue, Washington, Martinez was a member and resident of the Alpha Tau Omega house at the university. Martinez’s death marks the fourth college campus death in the United States over the course of the past month.
The medical examiner reported that an autopsy of the young man revealed that he died at 4:30 a.m. Despite the time of death, no one from the fraternity house called 9ll for assistance until four hours later. As of this time, no determination has been definitively made as to why the call for emergency assistance was delayed.
The investigation into Martinez’s death is only in its early stages. Thus, many other questions remain unanswered as well. With that said, investigators have stated that they believe that alcohol played a role in the 19-year old’s death.
At this time, law enforcement investigators, university officials, and leaders of the fraternity (locally and nationally) have stated that they didn’t think hazing was involved. However, even if hazing is demonstrated to not be a contributing factor of the student’s death, if alcohol is determined to be an underlying cause, other deviations from accepted standards of fraternity conduct may be at issue. In addition, questions may arise regarding the responsibility of the university itself in this death.
Three Other Recent University Deaths
As mentioned a moment ago, the death of Sam Martinez marks the fourth death on a U.S. college campus in the past month. A 19-year old San Diego State University student died when he fell out of his bunk bed, hitting his head. Initial investigation reveals that Dylan Hernandez has been drinking heavily at a fraternity party. Some individuals involved in the investigation believe that the drinking and death may be associated with hazing. 14 separate fraternities have been suspended as a result of Hernandez’s death.
Pennsylvania State University suspended the Chi Phi fraternity. The suspension came amidst the investigation of the death of a 17-year old. The 17-year old died during a party that residence occupied by members of the fraternity.
Finally, another student died during a fraternity event at Cornell University. As the investigation into this death continues, the university issued a statement citing what it calls a “pattern of misconduct” in regard to fraternities and sororities associated with the Ivy League school.
Obtain Justice with a Skilled Fraternity Hazing Attorney
Despite what have been described as affirmative steps by colleges universities and fraternities across the country, hazing and unlawful drinking remain significant problems on campuses. Indeed, the four deaths discussed here that occurred in the past month are all related to fraternities, all involved excessive drinking, and some (if not all) may have been directly connected to hazing. Colleges, universities, and national fraternity organizations repeatedly maintain that they’ve strict rules prohibiting hazing as well as excessive and underaged drinking. Nonetheless, hazing remains a problem and excessive and minor drinking is widespread.
The ongoing problems with hazing and drinking occurs for two primary reasons. First, some fraternities and other campus organizations simply ignore or skirt rules regarding hazing and drinking. Second, a startling number of colleges, universities, fraternities, and sororities fail to enforce their own rules and regulations regarding hazing and drinking.
If you or a loved on has been injured, or lost a family member, because of hazing and related activities at a college or university, justice is possible. The first step in protecting your rights and obtaining a sense of justice is to retain the legal services of a skilled, committed, experienced fraternity hazing lawyer, like a member of the tenacious legal team at The Doan Law Firm.
You can call (800) 349-0000 any time, day or night, to connect with a fraternity hazing lawyer. A nationwide law practice, an appointment can be arranged at any one of the firm’s offices located from coast-to-coast. In addition, a virtual consultation can be scheduled online.
There is not charge for an initial consultation with a Doan Law Firm fraternity hazing lawyer. In addition, The Doan Law Firm makes an attorney fee promise: you pay nothing unless we win for you.