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Hazing, drug abuse and harassment allegations plagued San Diego State fraternities for years, documents show

Forced drinking, physical workouts, injuries and hospital visits. Sexual assaults and more than a dozen hazing incidents reported at various SDSU fraternities.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Months before a global pandemic sent millions of college students into online learning, the death of San Diego State freshman and fraternity pledge Dylan Hernandez was already causing shockwaves throughout the community.

Hernandez was rushing the fraternity of FIJI, also known as Phi Gamma Delta. He attended a ceremony where new members met their older mentor, otherwise known as a big brother, little brother reveal night. 

Dylan, who was 19, drank alcohol at the event and his blood alcohol content was estimated to be .23% at the time of his death, according to a police report obtained by the San Diego Union Tribune.

After leaving the event, Dylan was escorted back to Tenochca residence hall. There he was placed on top of his bunk bed where he later suffered a fatal fall.

The president of SDSU, Adela de la Torre, immediately suspended 14 Interfraternity Council chapters after his death, including Dylan’s chapter of FIJI.

His November 2019 death ripped open an investigation into fraternity misconduct by campus police and the San Diego District Attorney. Both entities later announced, together, that no manslaughter or hazing charges would be recommended.

Task forces established by President de la Torre were also established after Dylan’s death to find remedies to hazing and other unsafe occurrences in student life.

But records obtained by News 8 show the issues surrounding SDSUs fraternities go back years beyond fall 2019 and show a culture rife with hazing allegations, reports of sexual assault and illegal drugs, underage drinking and dishonesty to SDSU administration.

The hundreds of pages of documents contain emails, investigations and allegations going back to 2014 from 13 different Interfraternity Council fraternities.

It includes 17 reports of hazing, three reports of brothers drugging party guests and two sexual assaults related to two fraternities.

The documents also show that Phi Gamma Delta, the fraternity rushed by Dylan, was in a cycle of suspensions and probations for three years leading up to the pledge’s death. The reported violations are related to hazing, illegal drugs, hard alcohol, and sexual assault.

Some fraternities, after a months-long investigation, were issued a "formal warning" by SDSU -- a label that grants no judicial discipline with some educational parameters that a fraternity is required to abide by.

Delta Upsilon, for example, was in trouble for five semesters since 2014. Out of those semesters, just one investigation in 2014 found enough evidence to put the fraternity on probation.

The other four investigations ended in warnings by the university, despite the school finding the fraternity leadership not following Fraternity & Sorority Life Protocol, hazing allegations and a student even being transported to the hospital.

Records show that SDSU takes anywhere from one semester to three years in order to enact serious change in a fraternity’s structure.

The documents are plentiful and, for the sake of transparency, are best displayed in a timeline format divided by fraternity.

But first, this is a PDF document full of all the documents used in this investigation. You can scroll through it below, or click HERE for link to search through.

DISCLAIMER:

This story is a living document which will be updated as more documents come to light. 

If you see something mentioned in the timelines that is not in the list of public records listed HERE, please email Jmolmud@KFMB.com and we will either direct you to the page or make a necessary correction.

Below is a list of timelines organizing the documents by fraternity. 

Phi Gamma Delta: FIJI

FIJI is currently an unrecognized fraternity chapter at SDSU. The chapter is expelled until August 2030 and there are no currently active members. The expulsion happened after an investigation was published August 13, 2020, where the national fraternity of Phi Gamma Delta announced a permanent suspension for the chapter.

FIJI was also the fraternity rushed by the late Dylan Hernandez. He died the night after fraternity brothers hosted a big-little ritual night. SDSU found FIJI violated eight counts of the student code of conduct in the fraternity's recent violations. This includes hazing, alcohol, illegal drugs and health and safety policies.

Documents obtained by News 8 show a cycle of investigations into FIJI leading up to Dylan's death. The documents show a 2016 sexual assault reportedly happening at a FIJI party, with the alleged assaulter being expelled from the fraternity on December 4, 2016, according to emails. 

After that sexual assault and social events resulting in student hospital visits, FIJI was placed on Interim Suspension in December 2016. The frat violated this suspension throughout the following semester with reports of hazing, including members living in a house with a chicken and forced to drink alcohol.

FIJI was placed placed on probation on April 12, 2017, and set to be in good standing by June 1, 2018. SDSU stated they did not have enough evidence to punish FIJI for hazing, according to documents. The national chapter also gave FIJI a probation for violating the risk management policy. They were given a "first strike," on August 2, 2017, according to a letter obtained by News 8.

FIJI then reportedly hosted a party with 100-120 people the following September while they were on double probation. There was photographed evidence of the event and a student at the residence halls reported concerns of being drugged at this event. 

SDSU put the fraternity on Interim Suspension some time after September 29, 2017. Student Life and Leadership staff said they were concerned with the state of the fraternity and suspended the chapter until they completed trainings. The fraternity would then be on probation again until June 2019. The frat could still host Frank Norris Pig Dinner, an on-campus event with alcohol once per semester.

National Phi Gamma Delta also investigated FIJI for its 100-120 person party in September. They completed their investigation January 10, 2018 and extended the first strike until June 1, 2019.

In April 2018, fake IDs were reportedly used at the Frank Norris Pig Dinner, the one alcoholic event the frat could host while on probation. No SDSU investigation was produced in the public records obtained by News 8, and Assistant Dean of Students for Student Life, Office of the Dean of Students and a co-chair on the recently established Presidential Task Force on Hazing Prevention, said the school would not comment on anything related to Phi Gamma Delta due to the pending legal battle

Reports of large parties were made during the semesters of fall 2018 and spring 2019, and documents show brothers allegedly made "masturbatory/animalistic" sounds a gestures toward a Black artist speaking at the Pride Center on April 27, 2019. SDSU later couldn't gather enough evidence to punish the frat, and fraternity leadership told SDSU the brothers making gestures at the Pride Center speaker were expelled from the national fraternity. 

The probation was lifted on August 2, 2019, and social events warranting meetings with Student Life and Leadership were reported leading up to the death of Dylan Hernandez in November 2019. 

Sigma Alpha Epsilon: SAE 

Sigma Alpha Epsilon is currently under a temporary suspension from the university while SDSU investigates. The investigation goes back to September 16, 2020. But documents obtained by News 8 show misconduct going back to 2014.

In August of 2014, SAE was caught purchasing a goat and using it for "amusement," according to SLL. SAE was put on probation for violating the animals policy. In October of that year, SAE reportedly hosted several events violating policies including harassment and abusive behavior and alcohol and illegal drugs.

After the string of events, SAE was put on another probation until August 15, 2015. 

SAE was also at the center of a situation similar to Dylan Hernandez on February 16, 2018. A pledge was taken to the hospital from his dorm after an alleged bid night. SDSU said fraternity brothers agreed the events surrounding the hospital visit would constitute hazing, according to the report. 

SAE was also found to have partied during the pandemic when famous TikToker Bryce Hall told his followers he was harassed at an SAE party and had his hat stolen.

Phi Kappa Theta: Phi Kap 

Although the documents obtained by News 8 detail misconduct leading to this fraternity's current state of expulsion in 2017, the chapter has made headlines previously.

This includes media reports of 20-year-old Barzeen Barzanji, the former president of SDSUs Sigma Alpha Epsilon, dying of an alleged overdose inside the Phi Kap house. 

Phi Kap was also put on probation later in fall 2016. One of the reasons being a large party investigated by SDSU. It reported 20 bottles of vodka, eight boxes of wine and two people taken from their residence halls to the hospital related to the party. 

When asked about a video of someone chugging a bottle of vodka, that person told the school they were drinking water.

SDSU found Phi Kap to have violated policies such as alcohol and hazing. They received a suspension until June 1, 2018, and then a probation until June 1, 2019.

Phi Kap violated its suspension September 2017, and was expelled with a date for reapplication in 2024.

Sigma Chi 

Sigma Chi just recently re-chartered with SDSU March 14, 2020. Before that, Sigma Chi was closed by the national chapter in spring 2013.

While the chapter was dissolved, The Daily Aztec reported several members of the then-ousted Sigma Chi created their own off-campus organization known as "Sigtopia."

It was the reported location of two alleged sexual assaults.

Somewhere between Fall 2019 and Spring 2020, Sigma Chi was investigated by SDSU, but the only known reference of this is in the task force findings for the Task Force on Student Activities and Safety. 

Sigma Chi was found to violate the noise policy and given a formal warning in the task force report.

Pi Kappa Alpha: PIKE 

Pi Kappa Alpha is currently in "good standing" with the university. It is a phrase to describe a fraternity that is currently not under any investigation, stipulation or suspension/probation.

But the history of PIKE is clouded, with a guest alleging they were drugged in 2018 and alcohol policy violations were reported.

The guest alleged they were drugged at a fraternity event on August 28, 2018, and SDSU finalized its investigation on September 12, 2019.

PIKE was also investigated by the university for partying during the COVID-19 pandemic. In September 2020, the university found PIKE violated six counts of student conduct including Health & Safety and Alcohol. 

They were placed on suspension until two months ago on May 31, 2021.

Sigma Phi Epsilon: Sig Ep 

Sigma Phi Epsilon is currently in "good standing" but not currently recognized by the school. SDSU told News 8 in an emailed statement that it is in a period of reestablishment for the 2021-22 school year.

"Following the period of suspension (without recognition from the university), Sigma Phi Epsilon will be reestablishing this year with all new members," the statement read.

While the fraternity is being rebuilt, its history is rich of harassment claims, vandalism, alleged drugging and brothers hosting events while on suspension that led to a student transport to the hospital.

In 2014, individuals related to Sig Ep shouted "obscenities" at marchers for Take Back the Night, an event that supports survivors of sexual violence.

SDSU said that because it was "isolated individuals" shouting from the Sig Ep house rooftop, those people were forwarded to Title IX and Sig Ep was given a warning by the university.

The warning did come with some educational requirements such as events to educate around sexual violence and bystander intervention among registered student organizations. 

Sig Ep was also investigated in March and April 2015 for hosting multiple parties, one of them resulting in a $13,000 fine from authorities. 

SDSU found damage was done to the Wesley Foundation fence during the spring, likely during social events hosted by the fraternities. Sig Ep was put on probation and ordered to come up with a plan to fix the Wesley Foundation fence by June 25, 2015. 

On April 19, 2019, SDSU investigated Sig Ep after a guest was reportedly drugged at an Sig Ep event where brothers invited Alpha Phi Sorority sisters. The incident reportedly happened on October 27, 2018.

SDSU wrote that brothers delayed in reporting the drugging and denied that it happened. Sig Ep's investigation found the chapter violated three counts of student policy including the Illegal Drugs policy. They were placed on suspension until at least December 31, 2019.

Following some noise complaints in early 2020 from the then-suspended fraternity, SDSU warned the chapter its suspension could be extended. 

Phi Delta Theta: Phi Delt 

Phi Delta Theta is another fraternity who recently came off a probation ending on May 31, 2021. 

Right now the chapter is on good standing, according to an email from the university. 

But the past of the chapter shows parties violating COVID-19 protocol, with "deep concerns going on in the chapter" starting in 2014, according to a confidential document from November 18, 2014.

The July 2020 report from the Task Force on Student Activities and Safety found the chapter violated alcohol policies, and was put on probation until December 31, 2020. But while the chapter was on suspension, it hosted an event with active and inactive members along with non-members on August 26, 2020.

The chapter was then put on probation until May 31, 2020.  

Kappa Sigma 

Kappa Sigma is currently unrecognized by SDSU and suspended until August  2022. But its chapter is still open with the support of the national chapter.

According to Dean of Students Randy Timm, there have been talks in the past with the national chapter to shut down the charter, but nothing has been confirmed.

Since then, Kappa Sigma has moved into the large house on 5505 Lindo Paseo, right across the street from campus. This house was previously occupied by Theta Chi, before a months-long investigation by the school led to their suspension in Winter 2019.

While SDSU isn't recognizing Kappa Sigma, students belonging to the university can still join the fraternity as long as its chartered with the national chapter. 

"It creates quite a challenge for the institution and it creates a challenge for the Interfraternity Council as well," Timm said. "When that happens, we still report any information that we have to the national organization, and we attempt to stay in contact with them to make sure that they're aware of what our concerns are."

In spring 2015, SDSU administrators said Kappa Sigma brothers were dishonest after an investigation found multiple people were taken to a hospital during a social event where hard liquor was present. Kappa Sigma was put on probation until June 1, 2016.

On October 10, 2019, Kappa Sigma was placed on a temporary suspension while it was investigated for a social event that lead to a student going to the hospital. 

During the investigation SLL brought up reports of multiple hazing allegations during fall 2019, including acts of servitude, forced drinking and "group violence." SLL reported numerous injuries found during the course of the investigation.

Kappa Sigma was suspended in January 2020, and had an ongoing investigation in February by the Center for Student Rights and Responsibilities.

While Kappa Sigma was suspended it received a San Diego County Cease and Desist order for partying during the pandemic. This was after an outbreak of COVID-19 cases skyrocketed during the fall semester. The Cease and Desist order was issued the night before Halloween.

Kappa Alpha Order: KA 

Kappa alpha Order is in "good standing" with SDSU. The chapter was suspended December 11, 2018 after violating five counts of student policy and reapplied to become a recognized chapter on October 14, 2019.

This may have been delayed due to the suspension of all 14 IFC fraternities the following month. Current surveillance of the College Area shows Kappa Alpha's insignia along Fraternity Row off 55th street near the Aztec Recreation Center.

While it's in good standing right now, its past shows several violations of the student code of conduct.

Most notably, the death of SDSU student Jasmine Madarang in September 2017. Her death happened the night of a tailgate at the former SDCCU stadium, according to The Daily Aztec.

Later in October 2018, SLL investigated a party where a student suffered injuries related to reported hazing incidents. 

The details of the confidential document obtained by News 8 show that new members were given alcohol in the fraternity house and had to paint a fence in preparation for a social event.

The document showed that a new member was so intoxicated that he had to be escorted home and fell down multiple times on the walk. 

"It was reported that a few active members took shifts 'watching him,' It was discussed that at no point did the chapter attempt to get assistance for the new member, and in fact, one active member attempted to avoid engaging with staff who could assist," the document read, in part.

KA's suspension was finalized on December 11, 2018 and the chapter reapplied for recognition on October 14, 2019.

Phi Kappa Psi: Phi Psi 

Phi Kappa Psi is currently in Suspension with Abeyance from the university until October 10, 2021.

Before then, it was on a temporary suspension since September of 2020 while university officials were investigating. 

Before this latest suspension, Phi Psi's record of misconduct goes back to February 18, 2018 when reports of Xanax being mixed with alcohol came forward to university officials.

A party known as "muffins" also was reported that day, according to university documents. The event was logged by police who gave Phi Psi brothers a 30-day notice. This means that if the house was reported to police again, the brothers could face a fine. 

In May 2018 SLL investigated the fraternity over these incidents, and noted that brothers offered contradicting stories of what happened and how much alcohol was present at the event.

A decision didn't come to the public until August 24, 2018, where it showed the chapter was on probation until June 2019. SLL noted that any further violations could get them removed from campus.

Two months after Phi Psi was in good standing, it was investigated again by the university and placed under a temporary suspension in the fall 2019 semester. Officials met with chapter members in late October 2019 but there was no official documentation published from that investigation.

The only record of investigation afterward was the July 2020 report from the Task Force on Student Activities and Safety. It found Phi Psi violated one count of student policy and was given a warning.

The current suspension was posted publicly in July 2021 but was finalized and dated for April 2021. The suspension is set to last until October 10 of this year if the chapter follows a certain set of educational stipulations.

Delta Upsilon: DU 

Delta Upsilon is currently in "good standing" after formal warning issued by the university earlier this year resulted in several educational stipulations.

This means that while DU did violate the student code of conduct, SDSU is letting the chapter function in good standing. The exception is that this warning comes with a required educational seminar or meeting prior to the start of spring 2021's new member education process.

Delta Upsilon is familiar with the warning process. The chapter was under investigation for five semesters since 2014. Out of those semesters, just one investigation in 2014 found enough evidence to put the fraternity on probation.

The other four investigations ended in warnings by the university, despite the school finding the fraternity leadership not following Fraternity & Sorority Life Protocol, hazing allegations and a student even being transported to the hospital.

Caryl Montero Adams, who is the assistant dean of students for Student Life, Office of the Dean of Students and a co-chair on the recently established Presidential Task Force on Hazing Prevention, said that some violations reported against a chapter require individual discipline, not for the organization as a whole.

"That's where a warning might be issued, not necessarily for what the report initially indicated that ultimately led to that interim suspension," Adams said.

Delta Sigma Phi: D-Sig 

According to an email from SDSU, Delta Sigma Phi is in "good standing" with the university. 

D-Sig just came off a probation that expired March 19, 2021. It was on probation since November 2020 for partying during the pandemic and violating several codes of conduct including health and safety.

The details of the event that landed them on probation included a large house party where people jumped off the roof and into a pool. This event reportedly took place September 19, 2020.

There was no mention, in the corresponding documents, that the entire IFC was under a party ban during the length of the pandemic. 

Before that the Task Force on Student Activities and Safety noted it was still investigating the chapter for behavior reported in spring 2020. This notice was  posted in July, two months before the large house party.

Earlier in its history, D-Sig was closed by the national chapter in December 2014 for a series of policy violations that fall semester. This included alcohol violations, a faulty risk management system, hazing allegations and a reported sexual assault.

Most notable in those 2014 violations is a harassment incident where members targeted marchers for Take Back the Night. The report details show the chapter admitted that one of its members, along with two other individuals, stood out on a balcony and waved a dildo at the marchers.

Both the national chapter and SDSU administrators agreed the earliest day the frat would be welcomed back to campus would be for the fall 2016 semester.

Delta Sigma Phi is currently in good standing with the university.

Theta Chi 

Theta Chi is currently suspended by SDSU until August 2023. It was closed by the national chapter in December 2019 after a months-long investigation including numerous detailed reports of hazing.

But the details of the sweeping investigation by SDSU were not revealed to the public until records were obtained by News 8.

For example, the final published document in which SDSU suspended Theta Chi, Student Life and Leadership reported that Theta Chi’s hazing allegations included the following: “servitude, physical activity, forced consumption of alcohol, forced consumption of unusual substances, degradation, and I-Week activities.”

While this is true, the specific details known by the university were left out. This includes a firsthand account of an unknown student who was hazed while pledging Theta Chi.

He told the school that he was forced to drop his pants and was screamed at during his pledging. 

The student, who’s name was redacted by the university to protect privacy, reported the physical activity included workouts from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. 

The same document reported this student was forced to throw up 15-20 times. He told the school he lost 23 pounds during the process.

He told the school that he “never felt so bullied in my life.”

Credit: Jack Molmud
Theta Chi hazing interview from October 9, 2019. Mother and son who was pledging both offered accounts to university investigators.
Credit: Jack Molmud
Theta Chi hazing interview from October 9, 2019. Mother and son who was pledging both offered accounts to university investigators.

The student’s mother was also interviewed and said her son called and “begged to come home,” adding that her son started to suffer from panic attacks.

Theta Chi was suspended by SDSU and had its chapter closed by the national Theta Chi in December 2019. Randy Timm, dean of students at SDSU, told News 8 that obtaining this level of detail in university fraternity investigations is rare.

“We get some vague information because people want to say, ‘hey, this is going on,’ but they don't want to make any identifiers as to who they might be,” Timm said. “We don't always get a level of detail.”

Adams added that not adding specific details comes from an effort to preserve the privacy of a student. 

“It would be case by case every situation, every case is unique,” Adams said. “As we're gathering information, determining how much detail to provide those types of things are things that we're evaluating.”

The hazing detail that landed Theta Chi the boot in late 2019 wasn't anything new, according to documents obtained by News 8.

It's also worth mentioning, for the record, that SDSUs chapter of Theta Chi was at the center of one of the largest college drug busts in the United States during Operation Sudden Fall in 2008. 96 people were arrested over the year-long investigation and many of them were SDSU students. 

Hazing reports in News 8's documents go back to 2017, according to the documents compiled by SDSU in its investigations. 

These include running back from Cowles Mountain without phones, workouts lasting three hours, eating pizza with "gross toppings" and drinking competitions.

Another report from February 26, 2019 says a residential advisor reported a student became intoxicated, fell down three flights of stairs, breaking his teeth and face bones. The report said people at the emergency room were concerned for this student's head bleeding and that he reportedly needed veneers for his teeth.

Credit: Jack Molmud
Someone working at the residence halls reported a medical incident involving a Theta Chi Pledge in 2019.

In November 2019, a physical fight was reported in a police report that detailed two theta chi members, two non-members and two SDSU football players.

According to the report, one of the football players needed medical attention and police treated the incident as an "assault with a deadly weapon."

This allegedly happened in an alleyway along Lindo Paseo. Just a few days before the fight a 911 report detailed Theta Chi brothers throwing bottles at students walking by. 

On March 5, 2020, the suspension was finalized, along with media reports that Theta Chi vandalized their own home before moving out. 


WATCH: Call to ban alcohol at fraternities following death of an SDSU freshman: