A committee consisting of 31 faculty, staff, advisors, alumni and students have formed to conduct the review of Greek Affairs governance, following the death of a student Nov. 13.
Matt Ellis passed away in his sleep Nov. 13 off campus, following a social event hosted his fraternity, Phi Kappa Psi. A week prior to Ellis’ death, the national chapter of Phi Kappa Psi ordered the Texas State chapter to cease its social activities due to an on-going investigation, at the time.
The task force is evaluating the policies and rules of Greek Affairs when they are violated. In this circumstance, a suspended fraternity was still operating, the task force is evaluating how to prevent and strengthen the governance to ensure safety of all students.
The Greek Affairs task force has 16 faculty and staff, five advisors and alumni and five students for the review. Matt Flores, university spokesperson, said the task force has had one preliminary meeting.
“My understanding is that the review is ongoing and that recommendations should be forthcoming sometime around the end of February or early March,” Flores said.
The San Marcos Police Department is leading the investigation into the death of Ellis.
Preliminary investigation indicated that alcohol may have been a factor in this death, but authorities are awaiting toxicology results from the autopsy. The autopsy of Ellis was ordered by Judge Maggie H. Moreno and is being conducted by the Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Kristi Stark, interim communications director for the City of San Marcos, said SMPD has not received the toxicology reports of Ellis.
Following the death, President Denise Trauth sent an email regarding the tragedy. In her email, Trauth stated she has suspended all activities of fraternities and sororities until a review is completed.
“As a result of this tragedy, I have suspended activities of all Greek fraternity and sorority chapters at Texas State,” Trauth stated. “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 has asked Joanne Smith, vice president of Greek Affairs, to immediately “review and propose 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.” Smith is leading the task force.
Greek Affairs has been suspended since Nov. 14. Formals, date parties and spring recruitment are temporarily banned while the review is ongoing.
The task force includes the Interfraternity Council president as well as Panhellenic Council president.