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After long history of ups and downs, Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity loses a member at Sacramento State
In January 2018, Sacramento State University began addressing concerns sent to the university concerning Greek life. Among this information was a video sent from an anonymous email address of a man seizing and vomiting.
The video was traced back to the fraternity Pi Kappa Alpha and led to an investigation on the effects of alcohol and hazing in the fraternity and in general. Pi Kappa Alpha was placed on probation following the investigation. After violating later terms of probation the organization lost recognition by the university in August of 2018.
Around this time, officials found out that the released video was taken in the past and had been investigated previously, uncovering the mystery of why the email used to turn in the video did not match other emails that provided tips about PKA.
Things started looking up for the Greek organization as Interfraternity Council noted PKA’s progress toward meeting the terms of probation, and the school agreed to reinstate recognition of the house in January 2019. PKA was to be placed on probation until May 31, after which Sacramento State would acknowledge the organization.
“There can be sanctions placed by IFC or their nationals on a fraternity, but it really just depends what the sanctions are, themselves,” said Nicholas Elliott-Smith, a third-year political science major and the IFC president for UC Davis. “It is a case-to-case basis of when they get off probation, and when a fraternity shows promising progress, they can become in good standing with IFC and the university, which is what PKA did.”
Given this timeline, hope was reestablished for the initiates and rushees who were either already members of PKA or were going to be. The hope lasted until a tragedy took place in mid-April.
On April 12, 2019, a member of PKA was pronounced dead from an accidental pellet gun shooting during an off-campus party. The Sacramento Police Department responded to a call at about 3 a.m. about a man who was passed out and needed medical attention as soon as possible.
William Molina, a 21-year-old Sacramento State student who was set to graduate this May, was transported to the UC Davis Medical Center and died, in spite of the life-saving efforts that the personnel on board attempted.
This is an event that not only impacted the Sacramento area, but also the city of Davis, as a recognized chapter of PKA also exists at UC Davis.
“The brothers of Pi Kappa Alpha, Theta Omega Chapter, send our deepest condolences to Will Molina’s family, chapter brothers and school community,” said Aidan Brady, a cinema and digital media major and the president of PKA at UC Davis. “They are all in our thoughts and prayers, and we would like to offer our support to them in any way we can during this difficult time.”
Investigators were called upon once the incident was released to the public and the school through Sacramento State’s president, Robert Nelsen.
“Sac State President Robert S. Nelsen called the death a terrible tragedy that affects the entire University family,” said Brian Blomster, the director of news and communications for SSU. “He said counseling will be offered to members of the campus community.”
Neighbors came forward after the unfortunate news reached the community about the house being occupied by members of PKA. The house was located about two miles from campus, and acted as an unofficial fraternity house.
Even with complaints, the university was not allowed to do anything due to it being not on campus.
“We later responded to questions about the venue where the death occurred,” Blomster said. “It was a private residence where some Sac State students live, not an officially recognized fraternity house. Such designation requires documentation following national guidelines from the frat. We continue to wait for results of the investigation into Will’s death by Sacramento police.”
Investigations are still being conducted to find out more about that night, as Blomster concluded that the accident had no relation to hazing.
A memorial was held at Sac State on April 14 in remembrance of Molina. Friends and classmates gathered for a candle-lit vigil but the Molina family did not attend the event.
Homicide detectives notified The Sacramento Bee that no one had been taken into custody in relation to Molina’s death and that they were doing everything they could to learn more information in order to bring some sense of peace to the Molina family.
Molina was embraced by family and friends as an active member in school and PKA.
“Having recently lost a brother within our own chapter, my deepest condolences are extended to them, especially in a time of such tragedy,” Elliott-Smith said. “When tested, brotherhood reveals its true strengths. I am sure the brothers of PKA are grieving this terrible loss, but I know they will grow stronger.”
Written by: Lauren Tropio — firstname.lastname@example.org