UPDATE: Texas State suspends all fraternity, sorority activities after death of Phi Kappa Psi pledge


4:15 p.m. update: Texas State President Denise Trauth confirmed in a statement Tuesday that Matthew 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.

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.

3:05 p.m. update: A Texas State University student was pronounced dead after his friends noticed Monday morning that he was not breathing in an off-campus apartment, San Marcos police said.

Matthew McKinley Ellis, 20, was pronounced dead at 12:28 p.m. Monday after medics responded to Millennium apartments, police said. 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. 

Earlier: San Marcos police on Tuesday were investigating the death last weekend of a Texas State University sophomore, authorities at the university said.

University spokesman Matt Flores confirmed the death of 20-year-old Matthew Ellis, a business administration sophomore from Humble, but could not provide any other details.

San Marcos authorities would not provide any more information either, but said additional details would be available later on Tuesday.

The University Star, Texas State’s student newspaper, said Ellis was a new member of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity, and that he died in his sleep on Monday after his fraternity’s initiation. 

This is a developing story. Check back soon for more information.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Fifth UT-area Subway robbery reported in two months
Fifth UT-area Subway robbery reported in two months

An armed robbery occurred Tuesday night at a Subway fast food restaurant on San Antonio Street near West 24th Street, University of Texas police said. At 10 p.m., police said they were looking for the robber, who witnesses described as a man wearing baggy clothing, who might be in his mid-30s.  This is the the fifth Subway to be robbed in...
Manchaca vs. Menchaca: Step closer to renaming South Austin road
Manchaca vs. Menchaca: Step closer to renaming South Austin road

It’s always been a head-scratcher for outsiders — Austinites pronouncing Manchaca Road as “MAN-shack.” But after decades of confusion, will Austin finally get it right? After six years and more than $24,000 raised, retired Judge Bob Perkins certainly hopes so. Since 2011, he’s been a champion for Texas Revolutionary captain...
Mayor Adler’s State of City address covers taxes, CodeNext and Russia
Mayor Adler’s State of City address covers taxes, CodeNext and Russia

Austin Mayor Steve Adler delivered Tuesday a State of the City address that blamed the state for continual rises in property tax bills, touted the numerous amount of road projects ahead that will — hopefully — improve traffic and vowed to make Austin a global leader. In an address that checked in at about 42 minutes, Adler hit on many of...
Abbott picks former San Angelo mayor for transportation board
Abbott picks former San Angelo mayor for transportation board

The suddenly short-handed Texas Transportation Commission Tuesday gained a new member, business investor, rancher and former San Angelo Mayor Alvin New. New, a life-long West Texan who was born in Brownfield and has lived in or near San Angelo since 1981, will replace Tryon Lewis of Odessa. Lewis, who until September had been chairman of the five-member...
Abbott looks to address shootings, doesn’t mention changing gun laws
Abbott looks to address shootings, doesn’t mention changing gun laws

In the wake of the Florida school shooting that killed 14 students and three staff members, Gov. Greg Abbott called for ensuring Texas schools are safe, fixing the federal background check database and addressing mental health as a cause of some shootings. Asked whether changing gun laws should be considered, Abbott did not mention it as a solution...
More Stories