Reporters Michael Tobin and Francisca “Frankie” Benitez in the Emerald here. The paragraph from the original, unsigned statement:
As devastating as this sudden passing is, it is important to point out that this tragedy is connected to an unauthorized tradition among many college students. Students from many institutions have a history of demonstrating poor life choices during visits to Lake Shasta. These activities are contrary to the values of the university and fraternity and sorority organizations.
Yesterday, the Division of Student Life issued a statement about the passing of one of our students, Dylan Pietrs, who died Saturday at Lake Shasta. The intent was to quickly respond to a tragic situation and provide resources to support the community members affected by Dylan’s passing. That statement should have reflected that our focus was and remains on assisting Dylan’s family and friends as they deal with this news.
We have heard from a number of you and greatly appreciate your perspective that the statement came across as insensitive. As the leader of the Division of Student Life, I offer my apology. While I didn’t know Dylan personally, he was a member of the Duck family and right now we should be focused on responding on the loss of a member of our family.
We have updated our statement and again express our condolences to Dylan’s family and friends. The Division of Student Life remains committed to assisting members of our community in dealing with this tragedy.
R. Kevin Marbury, Vice President, Student Life
The wording in the first statement shows how seriously Marbury took this student’s death, and that he wanted to use this tragedy as a warning to other students, and to the frats. This is certainly needed. An outright ban might be more effective in the long run, but that is about as likely as banning football, which has its own well documented negative effects on our students:
We consider the relationship between collegiate-football success and non-athlete student performance. We find that the team’s success significantly reduces male grades relative to female grades. This phenomenon is only present in fall quarters, which coincides with the football season. Using survey data, we find that males are more likely than females to increase alcohol consumption, decrease studying, and increase partying in response to the success of the team. Yet, females also report that their behavior is affected by athletic success, suggesting that their performance is likely impaired but that this effect is masked by the practice of grade curving.
This paper considers the degree to which events that intensify partying increase sexual assault. Estimates are based on panel data from campus and local law enforcement agencies and an identification strategy that exploits plausibly random variation in the timing of Division 1 football games. The estimates indicate that these events increase daily reports of rape with 17–24-year-old victims by 28 percent. The effects are driven largely by 17–24-year-old offenders and by offenders unknown to the victim, but we also find significant effects on incidents involving offenders of other ages and on incidents involving offenders known to the victim.