Frat pledge ODs on alcohol
A 19-year-old Butte College student was rushed to Enloe Hospital last Thursday night after members of the fraternity he was pledging found him unconscious from apparent alcohol poisoning.
Richard Amador, who is now home in the Bay Area recovering with his family, was admitted to Enloe’s Intensive Care Unit, where it was determined that his blood alcohol level was at a near-lethal .496 level, according to Chico police. The incident occurred at the Sigma Chi Fraternity, located at 4th and Ivy streets, around 8 o’clock.
According to fraternity rules, Amador should not have been drinking at all, as pledges are forbidden to consume alcohol. “Our policies absolutely prohibit the use of alcohol in any pledge activities,” stated Jory Taylor, the assistant director for chapter development for the international Sigma Chi organization.
“The suspension of the [Kappa Theta] chapter in Chico is a direct result of breaking this policy,” he added.
The fraternity was placed on suspension for 45 days as of Jan. 24. The Sigma Chi spring semester rush has also been cancelled.
Prior to Amador near-death, the national fraternity had adopted the “Choices Program,” an educational training program featuring a 90-minute video and integrated alcohol awareness element. The fraternity implemented the program, which was started at the University of Washington 14 years ago, after it recognized that alcohol abuse had become a major problem among college students.
Taylor described the program as one that is “supposed to help members understand the reactions that may result from alcohol use. It also helps members recognize the symptoms of others who may need help.”
Although the fraternity may have violated its own rules by allowing Amador to drink, fraternity members did in fact save his life by getting him to the hospital in time.
Lieutenant Mike Weber of the Chico Police Department said that this type of incident “is an ongoing problem that we have had with this area,” referring to the west side of Chico. Partying, alcohol consumption, late-night excursions and out-of-control crowds “create an unsafe environment and take up a lot of time for the department,” Weber said.
Alcohol abuse is not just a problem for the Chico community, but also nationally for both campuses and fraternal organizations that hope to keep students as safe as possible, the officer added.
The latest incident has reminded some of Pi Kappa Phi pledge Adrian Heideman, who died in 2000 after drinking an entire bottle of blackberry brandy as part of an initiation stunt. Heideman’s parents sued the fraternity after it came out that the 18-year-old’s frat brothers had left him passed out and unattended in a basement while they partied upstairs with a pair of strippers. Heideman subsequently suffocated on his own vomit. Three frat members were later charged and convicted of furnishing alcohol to a minor and were each sentenced to 30 days in jail.