NORTHRIDGE (CBSLA.com) — A CSUN fraternity Thursday was temporarily suspended by the national organization in the wake of a 19-year-old member’s death while on a sponsored hiking trip.
Pi Kappa Phi suspended the CSUN chapter for an investigation following the July 1 death of Armando Villa.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of the student. Our deepest sympathy is with them during this time of loss,” said Chief Executive Officer Mark E. Timmes.
Villa, and four other pledges, were hiking near Big Tujunga Canyon Road when the group ran out of water.
Villa, who wanted to be a doctor, lost consciousness on the trail. The victim’s companions flagged down a forest ranger and Villa was taken to a hospital, where he later died, authorities said.
Villa’s family believes the hike was an initiation that turned into hazing as he was left with no shoes or a cell phone.
“The fraternity is investigating alleged violations of the organization’s hazing and risk management policy,” Pi Kappa Phi officials said. “Hazing has no place in our fraternity.”
Homicide detectives believe the death was accidental, possibly the result of a heat stroke. The exact cause of death, however, has yet to be determined by the coroner’s office.
CSUN is also conducting an investigation.