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SDSU investigating whether fraternity leader promoted blackout drinking among students

Gary Robbins, The San Diego Union-Tribune on

Published in News & Features

SAN DIEGO -- San Diego State University says it is investigating whether the student who represents 14 of the school's fraternities promoted blackout drinking in a text message posted on social media in February.

The inquiry comes as SDSU is already investigating student drinking and safety in the wake of the death of Dylan Hernandez, a freshman who fell out of a bunk bed and cracked his skull in November, after returning from a night of partying with Phi Gamma Delta, where he was a pledge.

SDSU confirmed the new investigation on Tuesday, a day after the campus newspaper Daily Aztec reported that Interfraternity Council President Steven Plante had advocated blackout drinking on Feb. 8 on GroupMe, a messaging app. The story also says the text contained a homophobic slur.

Plante issued a statement to the paper apologizing for the slur, saying, in part, "My language was not meant in any sort of hateful, demeaning or derogatory way whatsoever and I acknowledge that it is language I should never use again."

He also told the Daily Aztec that the text message was merely an attempt to drum up support for a celebration of his 21st birthday.

Plante did not respond to multiple requests for comment from The San Diego Union-Tribune.

 

"The allegations presented, if proven, indicate serious violations of not only the student organization code of conduct, but also the November 2019 Presidential order suspending all 14 IFC-affiliated organizations," SDSU's Student Life & Leadership office said in a statement to the Union-Tribune.

"SDSU expects that all students commit to behaviors that uphold University values and maintain student safety and success, by complying with the University's student code of conduct."

The university has had problems with its fraternities for years, ranging from underage drinking to noise and health code violations.

The situation turned into a crisis in early November after 19-year-old Hernandez fell out of his campus bunk bed after returning from "Big Bro-Little Bro" night at Phi Gamma Delta, where he was a pledge.

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