by: Mark D. Wilson, Katie Hall and Ralph K.M. Haurwitz, Austin American-Statesman Updated:
SAN MARCOS, Texas - Police on Tuesday were investigating the death of a Texas State University sophomore and fraternity pledge, authorities at the university said.
Texas State President Denise Trauth confirmed in a statement Tuesday that Matthew McKinley Ellis, a Phi Kappa Psi pledge, died after attending an off-campus fraternity event, and she announced an immediate suspension of activities of Greek fraternity and sorority chapters at Texas State.
“These chapters are prohibited from holding new-member events, chapter meetings, social functions, and philanthropic activities until a thorough review of the Greek affairs system is completed,” Trauth said.
University spokesman Matt Flores said Ellis, 20, was a business administration sophomore from Humble.
Police said he was pronounced dead at 12:28 p.m. Monday after medics responded to the off-campus Millennium apartments. Friends discovered him a little after 11 a.m. and first responders got the 911 call at 11:35 a.m., officials said.
Police believe Ellis was a pledge for Phi Kappa Psi fraternity, based on interviews with those at the scene, San Marcos police said.
According to a preliminary police investigation, alcohol may have been a factor in Ellis’s death, but his autopsy is still pending, police said. The University Star, Texas State’s student newspaper, said Ellis died after his fraternity’s initiation.
Joanne Smith, vice president for student affairs, is in charge of conducting the review and proposing recommendations for reinstating fraternity and sorority chapters “that demonstrate a commitment to the core values of Texas State and the ideals established by their respective national organizations,” Trauth said. “It is imperative that our entire university community develop a culture that places the highest priority on the safety of its students, faculty, and staff.”
Ellis is the second Texas State student to die since the winter of 2016 after attending an off-campus Greek event. Four Texas state fraternities were handed suspensions in January, ranging from two to five years, for alcohol violations stemming from a party last year in which a 20-year-old student was fatally struck and dragged by a bus near Martindale.
The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.
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