Young drinkers and fraternity ceremonies can be a risky mix, a Michigan State death shows tragically again.
Phát Nguyen died the night of his induction into Pi Alpha Phi at Michigan State University. The 21-year-old from Wyoming, Mich., enrolled this year as a finance major after two years at Grand Rapids Community College.
The fraternity for Asian-American students is suspended by the university and its national headquarters.
The Nov. 19 induction of four newcomers apparently was followed by heavy drinking at the off-campus house on Stoddard Avenue. East Lansing police and medics came at 2 a.m. that night in response to a call. They found "four individuals ... passed out, one of which was unresponsive and not breathing," a police statement says.
Responding officers and East Lansing Fire Department medical personnel took over CPR and provided medical treatment. However, the individual could not be revived and was pronounced deceased at the scene. ...
The preliminary investigation indicates ... that alcohol consumption could play a factor in this case.
The other three individuals were transported to Sparrow Hospital.
Nguyen, a junior transfer student at MSU's Eli Broad College of Business, described himself on social media as an entrepreneur who was a brand ambassador for Displaced by Design, a year-old apparrel startup.
He's in three induction day photos posted on the Greek organization's Facebook page hours before the death, and still up. (One is above.) "Welcome to the best motherfucking house in the universe, boys," says the post, now hauntingly inappropriate.
Nguyen will be honored Monday at 6 p.m. with a memorial vigil on the Secchia Lawn at MSU's Minskoff Pavilion.
His fraternity, based in Berkeley, Calif., prohibits hazing and underage drinking. Violations may lead to disciplinary action, including permanent suspension and expulsion of members, its national board says in an email quoted this week by The State News campus paper.
East Lansing detectives are conducting "a very very in-depth investigation," police Capt. Chad Connelly tells student reporter Ashley Zhou.
"There are many people that we need to speak to, a lot of evidence that has to be sorted through, and we expect this investigation to be a top priority for us for the near future and for the upcoming weeks. We continue to investigate, looking into all leads that we have."
Its suspension means Pi Alpha Phi can't participate in campus events, can't recruit pledges and can't access money in its university account.