By Dana Nickel, Staff Writer
UPDATE: After the April 24, 2018 announcement that the SAE fraternity was suspended from Mason for an alleged illegal “exam bank,” Fourth Estate now has information that a fellow student and fraternity brother has been indicted in connection to Medina’s death. According to the Washington Post, Alejandro Porrata was indicted by a grand jury on a felony drug distribution charge in January 2018 for providing Medina with LSD. The case has been set for trial beginning May 21, 2018.
Mason’s chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) has been suspended on an interim basis after police discovered fraternity members distributing and holding university exams.
The suspension was a result of police investigating the death of Tristan Medina, a late Mason student and SAE brother. Medina died Sept. 30, 2017, after consuming LSD and jumping from a window in the Potomac Heights residence hall.
After his death, Mason police opened an investigation that, according to the Washington Post, quickly expanded after a detective discovered exams, at least one confirmed to be Mason property, on Medina’s computer while searching his room.
Campus police stated in court documents that Medina’s roommate consented to being interviewed, as well as the search of his room and cellphone, which contained a message suggesting SAE has an exam distribution system for its members.
The student had texted “Yo…how can I get one of the tests from our test bank?” to the SAE president, according to the Washington Post.
The student was then referred to the vice president of SAE, who, according to the president’s texts, was in possession of the materials and had allegedly distributed them earlier to another person, who was not specified to be a student.
The search warrants were filed under a state law in Virginia that states it is illegal to sell academic papers with the knowledge that the buyer will submit it to a university for academic credit.
The search warrants do not disclose how many exams were used by SAE members, or which classes the exams were used in, Washington Post reported.
Michael Sandler, Mason’s strategic director of communications wrote in a statement on Tuesday, April 24, that Mason had launched an administrative investigation into SAE and that the fraternity is now temporarily suspended, along with Mason students involved who Sandler would not identify, citing a federal law.
Sandler wrote that campus police found images of university exams, accessible to students. He also mentioned the issue has been referred to the Office of Student Conduct to look deeper into the case.
According to federal law, Mason cannot release any information identifying the students involved or any information regarding any disciplinary actions.
Article will be updated as more information is confirmed.