New details come forth about investigation into death of SDSU freshman

Task force members currently working out details of spring Greek life recruitment

by Kaitlyn Little and Bella Ross

San Diego State is being forced to address questions surrounding the November death of freshman Dylan Hernandez following the release of details from a police investigation into the incident.

An investigation by The San Diego Union-Tribune released Sunday cited a campus police report, showing Hernandez has been drinking on the night he fell off his dorm room bunk bed and cracked his skull, leading to his death. The report also details how Phi Gamma Delta members coordinated to bury evidence from the party Hernandez attended on the night of the incident.

Despite evidence that points to fraternity involvement in the incident, the report said campus police has so far failed to interview anybody from Phi Gamma Delta or obtain search warrants to review their cell phones and social media accounts.

In an email to the media, SDSU officials said University Police is not allowed to release details about the investigation while it is ongoing. This means campus officials outside the police department have no access to information about the investigation. This includes President Adela de la Torre and members of the campus communications team.

Two task forces created by President de la Torre in response to Hernandez’s death are currently assessing potential changes to the recruitment process for the spring 2020 semester, school officials said.

The press release also clarified that all 14 Interfraternity Council chapters remain on university suspension, barred from hosting any social events outside of academic leadership, philanthropy or community service.

“The chapters (are) absolutely not permitted to host or co-host any events during the Spring 2020 term that are social in nature and/or have a presence of alcohol and other drugs,” school officials said.

University officials also responded to concerns over the safety of rails for top bunks found in many student dorms on campus, saying the school inspects bunk beds regularly to ensure they meet state safety standards. These concerns gained footing after an anonymous SDSU parent and alumnus lodged a complaint with the U.S. government alleging the residence hall bunk beds are unsafe.

“Professional maintenance personnel inspect bunk bed and lofted railings on a consistent schedule to ensure that they are installed properly and meet state requirements,” the release said.

In the last five years, only two incidents have been reported regarding the beds, according to university officials. The nature of these occurrences was not clarified.

Rails are installed at the top of the beds and “are produced by national manufacturers and meet California State Fire Marshal requirements,” the school said.

De la Torre’s task forces are expected to recommend a plan for Greek life on campus moving forward by April 2020. In the meantime, officials are awaiting the release of Hernandez’s medical examiner’s report, which is expected to provide significant insight into the circumstances surrounding his death.