Greek community Stunned by Tragedy

by publicationarchive

Delta Sigma Phi members remember Douglas R. DeWitt as a friendly person with a bright future By Lydia Osolinsky & Jon GoldSenior Staff Writer & Sports EditorEarly Friday morning at his apartment on Hardy Avenue, DouglasR. DeWitt decided to leave a small party. It would be the last timeanyone would see the 21-year-old alive.

At 1:37 a.m. Saturday, nearly 24 hours later, Dewitt’sroommates broke down his bedroom door and found his body lying on thebed. University Police was called immediately.

According to the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s office,the cause of death is pending a toxicology examination, which couldtake several weeks. Counselors from San Diego State’s Counseling andPsychological Services were sent to the fraternity house and will beavailable to anyone who needs assistance.

DeWitt, an active member of the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity, isremembered by many as a positive and outgoing person. Majoring inpublic administration, DeWitt was in his junior year at SDSU.

“I don’t think there’s a person on this campus that knew himand didn’t like him,” DeWitt’s roommate and fraternity brother ChadDavidson said. “I don’t know exactly what he wanted to do for acareer, but whatever he did, he would have been successful.”

Jim Boggus, president of the Alumni Corporation Board andformer member of Delta Sigma Phi, was called to the scene earlySaturday morning. After this weekend’s grim news, his usual role asan advisor to fraternity members has been given new weight.

“This is just like any death of someone you care for,” Boggus,who knew DeWitt personally, said.

Every day since the fraternity brothers found DeWitt, Boggushas spoken with them in hopes his words will bring some relief.

“You deal with it in a positive manner and get them to focus onthe future and not focus on the negative,” he said.

As with any death of someone so young, Delta Sigma Phi’s losshas shocked the greek community, leaving those who knew DeWitt withonly their memories.

“He was a very outgoing and giving individual,” Boggus said,referring to the past summer DeWitt spent in Australia where he wasinvolved in community service.

Boggus said the fraternity members are considering establishing a memorial fund in DeWitt’s name to be used for scholarships.

“Our deepest sympathies go out to the students, family and lovedones,” Jason Foster, media relations manager, said. “Any loss likethis is tragic.”

Hearing the news, Troy Bartels, Center for Greek Life assistantcoordinator, initially reacted with sorrow and regret that a tragedysuch as this could happen so close to home.

“The greek system has already had two deaths – one atColorado State University, one at University of Colorado, Boulder,” he said. “All of a sudden, it’s someone in our community.

“He was someone’s best friend. He was someone’s brother. He wassomeone’s son. They’re going to deal with their stages of griefdifferently. Everyone will have to deal with it in their own way.”

A candlelight vigil will be held 8 p.m. Wednesday on the FreeSpeech Steps in DeWitt’s memory. Official services are planned for 3p.m. Thursday at Rose Hills Memorial Park and Mortuary in Whittier.

He is survived by his grandmother, his parents and two brothersin South Gate, California.