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Pi Alpha Phi fraternity suspended following student's off-campus death

November 24, 2021
<p>An East Lansing police car is pictured on July 6th, 2017.</p>

An East Lansing police car is pictured on July 6th, 2017.

Photo by Jon Famurewa | The State News

The Pi Alpha Phi national organization and Michigan State University have suspended the university's fraternity chapter following the death of a student early Saturday morning.

Pi Alpha Phi's national board said in an email that the MSU chapter has been placed under interim suspension pending investigation. The fraternity is launching their own internal investigation with authorities. They ask all members to cooperate during the investigation.

"Pi Alpha Phi is saddened to share the passing of a member of the Michigan State University Chapter of Pi Alpha Phi," the email said. "We wish to extend our thoughts and condolences to the student's family, friends, and entire community."

The fraternity has policies prohibiting hazing and underage drinking. Violations of Pi Alpha Phi's policies by the local chapter or members may lead to disciplinary action, including permanent suspension and expulsion of members, the email said.

On MSU Pi Alpha Phi’s Facebook page, they announced that Phat Nguyen was one of the four students that had joined the chapter early Friday morning.

Nguyen, a student in the Eli Broad College of Business, was pronounced dead on the 400 block of Stoddard Avenue.

Police said alcohol consumption may have played a role in this case. Ingham County Medical Examiner has ordered an autopsy report with toxicology results that will take six to eight weeks to complete.

Three other individuals were found passed out at the scene as well and were transported to Sparrow Hospital.

East Lansing Police Department, or ELPD, will not be releasing any further information on the ongoing investigation this week, ELPD Captain Chad Connelly said. 

The three individuals that were transported from the scene are no longer receiving medical care at Sparrow Hospital. Connelly declined to release further information regarding the individuals’ reasons for arriving at the hospital or their current medical conditions. 

“It's a very very in-depth investigation,” Connelly said. “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, and we continue to investigate looking into all leads that we have.”

University spokesperson Dan Olsen said the incident that occurred Saturday morning was connected to “a fraternity,” and their registered student organization status is suspended pending review by the university.

The university has had conversations with the fraternity, and due to the interim suspension the fraternity is no longer allowed to participate in on-campus events as part of that registered student organization, are not able to recruit students and also lost their ability to access their funds with the university as well as their university account.

"We continue to work in close partnership with East Lansing Police Department on its investigation into the passing of the student and certainly we are heartbroken by this loss to our Spartan community,” Olsen said. “Our hearts and prayers go out to the family of the students as well as anybody who knew him and their friends and loved ones."

Office of Cultural & Academic Transitions announced on Instagram a vigil in honor of Nguyen. The vigil will take place on the Secchia Lawn, Minskoff Pavilion on Nov. 29 at 6 p.m.

Olsen encourages anyone who may need support services to reach out to MSU Counseling and Psychiatric Services that are available to students 24/7/365.

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