University announces members of task forces to investigate alcohol, student safety

Campus administrators, alumni and student leaders largely make up the 28 members of the two task forces.


Courtesy of SDSU

Dylan Hernandez, a freshman at SDSU, died on Nov. 8 after falling off his bunk bed in his dorm room. He had attended a fraternity party before the incident.

by Michael Cline and Bella Ross

San Diego State has announced the members of two presidential task forces to study alcohol and substance abuse, as well as student safety generally, after the death of freshman Dylan Hernandez earlier this month.

The members largely consist of SDSU administrators, but also features alumni representatives, student leaders and administrators from other schools, according to a list posted on campus President Adela de la Torre’s webpage.

Two current SDSU student-members have direct ties to the Interfraternity Council — 14 campus fraternities currently suspended and unrecognized by the university. Ten IFC chapters were already on interim suspension or under investigation before Hernandez’s death.

The task forces were announced by de la Torre in a Nov. 12 campus-wide email as a way to inform the administration on what steps to take following the student’s death, which occurred after he left a fraternity party on Nov. 6.

The Presidential Task Force on Student Activities and Safety will review Greek life, student organizations and Associated Students, while the Presidential Task Force on Alcohol and Substance Misuse will “examine behaviors, trends, policies, prevention and response to the use of alcohol and drugs at SDSU,” according to the email.

Both task forces are set to deliver findings and recommendations next summer.

“This is part of a larger issue facing college and university campuses nationwide and we want to ensure SDSU is leading the conversation regarding student safety and well-being,” de la Torre said in the Nov. 12 statement. “To do that, we are launching this process to identify and adopt best practices for the benefit of all of us.”

The 19-year-old died of blunt force injuries to the head after a fall from a bunk bed in his dorm room. He had attended a fraternity event the night of Nov. 6 as a pledge of Phi Gamma Delta, or FIJI.

Hernandez was discovered “foaming at the mouth,” unconscious and apneic in his bed shortly before 9 a.m. on Nov. 7, according to the 911 call released by SDSU Police yesterday.

CPR was performed by officers and paramedics, and a defibrillator was used before Hernandez was transferred to Alvarado Hospital.

He was pronounced dead the evening of Nov. 8, according to the county medical examiner. There has still been no confirmation of whether alcohol was involved in the death.

Presidential Task Force on Student Activities and Safety:

  • Randy Timm, SDSU Assistant Vice President for Campus Life & Dean of Students
  • Caitlin Roberts, University of Oregon Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life
  • Antionette Marbray, SDSU Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs
  • Jessica Rentto, SDSU AVP for Administration, Risk Management
  • Christy Samarkos, SDSU Interim Vice President for Student Affairs
  • Lee Abed, SDSU Interfraternity Council, Vice President for Judicial Affairs
  • Rana Sampson, Former Law Enforcement Consultant; Director, Community Relations Ambassador, Southern California and San Diego Divisions, Union Bank
  • Bobby Smitheran, Senior Associate Athletic Director of Student-Athlete Academic Support Services
  • Erik Johannesen, Alumnus Advisor, Delta Sigma Phi Fraternity
  • Karly Nolan, College Panhellenic Association, Former Vice President of Membership
  • Ben Clay, SDSU Alumnus, Sigma Chi Alumnus
  • Mike Pack, The Campanile Foundation Board Member, Sigma Alpha Epsilon Alumnus
  • Rachel Gregg, SDSU Director of Government and Community Relations
  • Christian Holt, Student-at-Large, Associated Students
  • Christian Onwuka, Associated Students President
  • Josh Mays, SDSU Chief of Police
  • Frank Churchill, Aztec Parent Advisory Board, Cal Fire Fighter Los Angeles County Fire Department

Presidential Task Force on Alcohol and Substance Misuse:

  • John Clapp, University of Southern California Professor of Social Work
  • Richard Moyer, SDSU Research Foundation Network Analyst
  • María Luisa Zúñiga, SDSU Associate Professor, School of Social Work
  • Mark Reed, SDSU Associate Dean for Research, College of Health and Human Services
  • Ron Smith, Alumnus Advisor, Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity
  • Jim Lange, SDSU Coordinator of Alcohol and Other Drug Initiatives; Adjunct Professor in the Department of Psychology and School of Social Work; Doctoral Faculty in the School of Public Health; Research Fellow in the Center for AOD Studies and Services
  • Andrea Dooley, SDSU Associate Vice President for Student Affairs
  • Jen Rikard, SDSU, Counseling and Psychological Services Director
  • Christina Checel, Deputy City Attorney for the City of Los Angeles; SDSU Aztec Parent Advisory Board Member
  • Jeremy Garcia, Counseling & Psychological Services Peer Mentor; Wellness Chair, Phi Delta Theta
  • Liana Marin, Alpha Gamma Delta Sorority, Past President; Commuter Center Mentor