SDSU President Adela de la Torre. Photo by Chris Stone

In the wake of a freshman’s death from head injuries after a fraternity event, San Diego State University President Adela de la Torre Tuesday announced the formation of two task forces to review student safety and misuse of alcohol and other drugs.

In an open letter to SDSU students, staff and faculty, de la Torre outlined the responsibilities of each task force to identify areas where student safety is compromised or could be improved. Both groups will include faculty members, students, staff members and university administrators. SDSU alumni and parents will also be involved in the two groups.

The Presidential Task Force on Student Activities and Safety will analyze organizations and their members at SDSU, particularly Greek organizations and Associated Students. The Presidential Task Force on Alcohol and Substance Misuse will review behaviors and policies regarding alcohol and drug use at the university.

Both task forces will convene through next summer and submit reports with recommended actions to de la Torre.

“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 wrote. “To do that, we are launching this process to identify and adopt best practices for the benefit of all of us.”

The announcement comes one day after the university confirmed the death of 19-year-old freshman Dylan Hernandez, who sustained head injuries after falling out of his dorm-room bunk bed early Thursday morning. Hernandez had attended an on-campus fraternity event during the prior evening and was hospitalized Thursday after he was found without a pulse in his bed.

Hernandez died Friday evening, according to the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office, which ruled the death as accidental due to head trauma suffered during the fall. Medical examiners have yet to determine whether alcohol was a factor in Hernandez’s death.

The university suspended all activities by its Interfraternity Council on Friday. University officials have also launched a webpage regarding the incident, sdsu.edu/investigation, which will be updated with information as it becomes available.

The suspension impacts more than 1,400 members of 14 council fraternities, but does not affect the National Pan-Hellenic Council, the College Panhellenic Association or the United Sorority and Fraternity Council or the chapters affiliated with those organizations.

The IFC consists of Alpha Epsilon Pi, Delta Sigma Phi, Delta Epsilon, Kappa Alpha Order, Kappa Sigma, Phi Delta Theta, Phi Gamma Delta, Phi Kappa Psi, Pi Kappa Alpha, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Sigma Chi, Sigma Phi Epsilon, Theta Chi and Zeta Beta Tau, according to the school’s website.

— City News Service

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.