All Greek activities there have been suspended.
Statistics show that there are more than 900 new alcohol poisoning cases every week, mainly in college population.
Beyond the statics are the real tragedies, such as the death of a 21-year old Chico senior who was part of a hazing ritual.
The fraternity and sorority houses scattered along the streets by Chico State University were quiet and dark Friday, with no takers for the requisite thrift-store couches on porches and roofs.
At the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity house, the American flag hung at half-staff.
A day earlier, every Greek social organization at the school had been suspended after the alcohol-related death of Mason Sumnicht, a 21-year-old senior and fraternity pledge at Sigma Pi.
It was the latest episode – the worst-case tragedy – at a state university unable to shake off a long-held reputation as a top-tier party school, one popular among Bay Area kids, who make up 20 percent of the campus’ 16,500 students.
Too often, fraternity and sorority houses are at the center of the party-school problems.
Hazing, assaults, raucous parties and binge drinking are the most serious issues. Academic failure and neighborhood complaints are also on the list.
“It’s got to change,” said Joe Wills, a university spokesman. “They have got to change.”
Like every 21-year-old Chico State student, Sumnicht would have received an official university birthday card, wishing him well and warning him of the dangers of too much drinking.
And like every undergrad, he was required to take an alcohol education course.
21 shots on 21st birthday
But the warnings didn’t work. Sumnicht, a communications major from San Diego, reportedly drank 21 shots on his 21st birthday last week and was later found unconscious. He died Thursday when he was removed from life support.
Sumnicht’s death, after a number of incidents dating to last spring, spurred university officials to take the drastic measure of suspending all 26 social fraternities and sororities, which combined have 1,200 members.
They must cover up or remove the Greek letters from their houses and cancel any activities or events until further notice.
While many of the fraternity and sorority houses and their members have exemplary records, others have serious problems, Wills said.
The clubs will be allowed to apply for reinstatement next semester, but not all will return, Wills said.