'60 Minutes' reports Sunday on WSU fraternity hazing death of Sam Martinez

<p><p>Two years after the hazing death of Washington State University student Sam Martinez, the story of what happened is about to be scrutinized by the long-running news program “60 Minutes.”</p></p><p><p>Pullman Police Chief Gary Jenkins is among those who were interviewed as part of the segment set to be aired Sunday evening.</p></p><p><p>Martinez, a 19-year-old freshman from Bellevue, died of acute alcohol poisoning on Nov. 12, 2019, after attending a new-member hazing ritual at the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. The circumstances surrounding his death propelled a police investigation that lasted more a year, a lawsuit filed by the Martinez family against the fraternity and WSU, and misdemeanor charges against 15 former fraternity members.</p></p><p><p>Martinez’s death and the Greek-life tradition of hazing moves under the spotlight of the prime-time “60 Minutes” segment airing this Sunday night at 7 p.m. on CBS. Reporting and interviews were conducted by “60 Minutes” contributor Anderson Cooper, best known as anchor of CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360˚.”</p></p><p><p>The episode, titled “Hazing,” will address Martinez’s alcohol-poisoning death and how his parents “blame the fraternity, its national office and Washington State University for the death of their son,” according to the description on the CBS website.</p></p><p><p>Jenkins was interviewed by Cooper in New York City on Aug. 3. Three weeks later, a “60 Minutes” crew visited Pullman to shoot video of police headquarters, the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity house whose operations were suspended by WSU until 2026, College Hill and some on-campus locations, according to Jenkins. The chief claims his department’s investigation was stymied in part by witnesses’ conflicting accounts of what happened during the fatal recruitment event.</p></p><p><p>Jenkins agreed to be a part of the “60 Minutes” segment in hopes that it will draw more national attention and scrutiny to the dangers of hazing rituals, he said.</p></p><p><p>“When fraternities are run well, they can foster friendships, leadership and community service. But the long-practiced culture of hazing has harmful repercussions, as we’ve seen,” he explained. “The Greek system needs to change.”</p></p><p><p>Besides Jenkins, the Martinez family, an attorney and other individuals will be featured on Sunday night’s segment.</p></p><p><p>Jenkins said the national attention might lead not only to increased awareness, but also to more support for a growing anti-hazing movement, similar to the mission of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.</p></p>