Some months before the global COVID-19 pandemic upended learning at colleges and universities across the United States, the tragic fraternity hazing death of San Diego State University Student Dylan Hernandez was making headlines. Dylan’s death sharpened the focus on fraternity hazing not only at SDSU but at colleges and universities across the country. Dylan’s fraternity hazing death opened the door to a close investigation of the prevalence of this type of abusive and potentially deadly conduct at SDSU.
Facts Surrounding the Fraternity Hazing Death of Dylan Hernandez
Dylan Hernandez was involved in rushing the Phi Gamma Delta or FIJI fraternity at SDSU. During that the process, Dylan attended a “ceremony” at which new members met their older counterparts, specifically their fraternity “mentor.” In the FIJI house, the older member is known as the “big brother,” the new member as the “little brother.”
19-year-old Dylan drank a considerable amount of alcohol during what the FIJI organization called the “big brother-little brother reveal night.” Dylan’s blood alcohol content or BAC was estimated to be .23% at the time of his death, according to local law enforcement officials.
After participating in the FIJI event, Dylan was taken back to his room at the SDSUA Tenochca Residence Hall. He was placed on the top of his bun bed from which he later suffered what would prove to be fatal fall.
University Response to Dylan’s Death
SDSU President Adela de la Torre responded swiftly to the death of Dylan Hernandez. She immediately suspends 14 fraternities in the school’s Interfraternity Council. The suspensions included FIJI, the fraternity in which Dylan was a “little brother.”
Comprehensive Investigation Launched
Dylan’s November 2019 fraternity hazing death resulted in the launch of an “investigation into fraternity misconduct.” The investigation was led by the SDSU university police in conjunction with the San Diego District Attorney. The two agencies ended up recommended no manslaughter or hazing charges against those involved in the death of Dylan Hernandez.
University President Responds to Results of Initial Investigations
Following the completion of the referenced investigation, the university president established task forces to find remedies to fraternity hazing and other unsafe practices existing in student life at SDSU. Media scrutiny at the time these task forces were put in place revealed that significant issues with SDSU fraternities extends back years beyond the November 2019 death of Dylan Hernandez.
SDSU Fraternities: A Long History of Illicit Conduct
In examining the history of fraternities and fraternity hazing at SDSU, it was discovered that the Greek culture at the university was “rife” with a variety of different types of illicit conduct. These include:
- Fraternity hazing
- Use of illegal drugs at fraternity functions
- Underage drinking at fraternity functions
- Sexual assaults perpetrated by fraternity members
17 separate hazing reports reveal three cases of fraternity drugging party guests as well as at least two instances of sexual assaults connected to fraternities at SDSU.
Serious Problems at Phi Delta Gamma of FIJI
The FIJI fraternity was in the midst of a cycle of probation and suspension leading up to the death of Dylan Hernandez. During the three years prior to Dylan’s death, the FIJI fraternity faced reports of violations that included:
- Fraternity hazing
- Use of illegal drugs
- Underaged drinking
- Sexual assault
Status of FIJI After Death of Dylan Hernandez
FIJI is no longer a recognized fraternity at SDSU. The chapter is expelled from the university until August 2030. There are no active FIJI members at SDSU at the time.
If you’ve been injured in a fraternity hazing incident, if you’ve lost a child because of fraternity or some other dangerous activity associated with Greek life or some other organization or activity at a college or university, The Doan Law Firm is here for you. You can reach a fraternity hazing lawyer any time of the day or night by calling the Doan firm at (800) 349-0000. We can schedule an initial consultation with a fraternity hazing lawyer at any one of your offices located across the country. We can also arrange a virtual case evaluation online.
There is never a fee for an initial consultation and case evaluation. The Doan Law Firm also makes an attorney fee guarantee to you. Our firm will never charge an attorney fee unless we win your case for you.