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19-Year-Old Pledge Dies from Injuries in Fraternity Incident


Early Thursday morning, university police at San Diego State University (SDSU) received a call about a student in need of medical attention. The freshman was hospitalized, and his family gathered to say goodbye Sunday night. The university announced the young man’s death earlier this morning in a campus-wide email.

While they did not specify the cause of death, university police say a fraternity was involved. The young man, who was from Jacksonville, had been pledging to Phi Gamma Delta. While the university didn’t clarify if the young man died from alcohol-related injuries, he had reportedly attended a fraternity event the night before his hospitalization.

14 Fraternities Suspended After Pledge’s Death

In response to the death of the young student, the university president suspended the Interfraternity Council (IFC), which represents 14 fraternities on campus. The group had reportedly already had disciplinary issues, as six of the fraternities were already suspended and four were under investigation—not including the fraternity involved in the student’s death, which would have been the eleventh. However, a campus paper reported just last month that the suspension did not include a social moratorium, otherwise known as a “party ban.”

The 14 suspended fraternities include:

  • Alpha Epsilon Pi
  • Delta Sigma Phi
  • Delta Upsilon
  • 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
  • Zeta Beta Tau.

Violations committed by member groups of the IFC included unauthorized serving of alcohol, which is what is suspected in this most recent case. “While under suspension, the IFC and its organizations will not be recognized and all activities will be suspended. The university will keep the organizations under suspension while it considers next steps,” the SDSU statement said. The suspension affects more than 1,400 students. There are still roughly 2,200 students belonging to 32 fraternities and sororities not affected by the suspension.

David Bianchi from our firm, one of the leading hazing lawyers in the country, made his feelings about this very clear:

“For decades, we have been fighting to stop hazing, representing families who have lost loved ones in hazing incidents, lobbied legislatures for tougher anti-hazing laws, published articles about the subject, visited college campuses and spoken to thousands of students about the dangers of hazing, yet it still goes on. Anytime you have young people who are on their own for the first time and you mix in alcohol, fraternity rituals and traditions, and no adult supervision, you have everything you need for hazing to take place. We are representing families right now who have needlessly lost loved ones in senseless hazing incidents, and we will never stop fighting to stop this, no matter how long it takes.”

A GoFundMe page has been set up for the young man’s family, which you can view here.