The father of a UC Irvine freshman found unresponsive following a fraternity party earlier this year believes his son’s death was the result of a hazing ritual.
Noah Domingo died at an off-campus residence around 3:30 a.m. on Jan. 12 following a fraternity party the night before. Authorities did not receive a 911 for another six hours and responded to the home around 9:30 a.m.
A witness told the operator the 18-year-old from La Crescenta “just drank too much” but his father, Dale Domingo, contends his son died during a Sigma Alpha Epsilon “big brother night” ritual.
“We have discovered the horrifying truth about fraternity hazing,” he told CBS News. “Noah was compelled to guzzle a so-called ‘family drink’ to become part of his big brother’s family. It is why fraternities openly refer to this type of ritual as being one of the deadly nights.”
The Orange County Sheriff’s Department Coroner division on Monday announced Noah died of alcohol poisoning with a blood-alcohol level of 0.331 — which is more than four times the legal limit. His cause of death was ruled “accidental acute ethanol intoxication.”
“We remain shocked and saddened by Noah’s tragic death, and we offer our deepest sympathies to the Domingo family for their loss,” the university said in a statement. “His death brings an urgent focus on alcohol and substance abuse, from the cultural pressures that encourage unhealthy behavior to policies designed to mitigate danger.”
The national council of Sigma Alpha Epsilon voted to suspend its UCI chapter in wake of Noah’s death. On Feb. 21, they voted to shut it down indefinitely.
Authorities in Irvine are still investigating the student’s death and have not confirmed whether hazing was a factor.