SAE president found dead



Barzanji was found unresponsive in the Phi Kappa Theta house. | Dustin Michelson, Staff Photographer

by Elisse Miller

Barzanji was found unresponsive in the Phi Kappa Theta house. | Dustin Michelson, Staff Photographer
Barzanji was found unresponsive in the Phi Kappa Theta house. | Dustin Michelson, Staff Photographer

San Diego State tragically lost an important member of its community last Friday. At 8:30 a.m. on April 20, Barzeen Barzanji, president of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity, passed away.

SDSU Police responded to a 911 call from a student who found Barzanji unconscious in a bed in the Phi Kappa Theta fraternity house. He was pronounced dead at the scene. An autopsy was performed the following day, however the cause of death will not be released until a full toxicology report is performed. No foul play is suspected at this point.

The 20-year-old Santee resident was a junior majoring in criminal justice.

“This week, the university and Greek community lost one of its own, a tragedy that is any chapter’s biggest nightmare,” Scholarship Chair for SDSU’s Interfraternity Council Corey Polant said. “This is a time for all Greeks to pay their respects to Barzeen’s family and Sigma Alpha Epsilon, as I cannot imagine how painful this may be to them.”

In a statement to the SDSU community, SDSU President Elliot Hirshman offered his condolences by saying, “We are deeply saddened by the news of the death of one of our students this morning. SDSU Police are investigating the circumstances. Any loss of life in our community is tragic and I encourage each of you to support each other during this difficult time.”

As described by SDSU IFC’s Facebook page, Barzanji was “the type of guy who would literally give you the shirt off his back,” “Barzeen was an excellent student, often bringing insightful questions to the table,” and “Barzeen has left a legacy which will not be forgotten.”

“We offer our prayers and thoughts for the family and friends of the young man who passed away this morning,” the spokesman for Phi Kappa Theta, Kevin Lampe, said. “Phi Kappa Theta is working closely with SDSU administration and police during the investigation.”

Students have honored Barzanji by posting meaningful sentiments and memories on his Facebook page. A candlelit vigil was organized Friday night for friends to come together as one family and pay their respects.

“To be at the candlelit vigil was something I never thought I would have to experience as a college student,” Polant said. “In the wake of this tragedy, to see such unity and support within the Greek community represents what we’re really about. No matter what letters you wear on your jacket, we are one, and a loss to one chapter is a loss to all of us.”

Students affected by this loss are encouraged to seek free counseling offered through SDSU Counseling and Psychological Services at 619-594-5220. A memorial fund for Barzanji has been set up through Wells Fargo with more information at