Matt was special from the day he was born, we knew that he was meant for something great, but what we didn’t know is that he would not live to see what all he would accomplish. In life Matt was fearless and endearing, a joy to be around, I am still amazed by how many lives he touched in his short 21 years of life. I got a call from the Diablo Valley College School paper shortly after Matt’s death and the reporter asked me to describe Matt, one of the words I used was Sweetheart. She said “I can’t tell you how many people use that word to describe Matt” but I knew how many would use that word because that is exactly what Matt was a true Sweetheart. Matt always put others before himself he lived by the motto “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” Unfortunately not everyone lives by that same motto, which our family found out when we learned about how Matt’s life was senselessly cut short.
On February 2, 2005, Matt was left to die of water intoxication on the floor of a cold, wet, sewer infested fraternity basement in Chico following hideous acts of hazing. He was terribly degraded and mistreated for the last three days of his life, all for the purpose of gaining admission into the fraternity, demonstrating his worthiness, and satisfying the brotherly love that the fraternity members promoted. Seven Chi Tau Fraternity Members have been charged with hazing and four of those have also been charged with felony manslaughter. The court hearings are ongoing; a tentative trial date has been set for November 2, 2005.
Through Matt’s death we hope others (parents and students) will learn before it is too late that fraternities and fraternity rituals can be coercive and dangerous. There are people out there who will take advantage of your good nature even though you may think that you are immortal because you are young and strong, fearless and good. You cannot succumb to the pressure and let others degrade or endanger you in order for them to feel better about themselves. Hopefully more children will be taught to live by the motto “do unto others.” If everyone could make this a way of life then maybe we could put a stop to these senseless deaths of our children and loved ones. I think Mark Yu (one of Matt’s best friends) was right and put it best when he said, “If everyone treated others the way Matt did we wouldn’t have any problems in society.”
~Matt’s Mom; August 10, 2005~