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21 Year Old Oregon Student Tragically Dies During Shasta Lake Trip - University Issues Statement About His "Poor Life Choices"

This past weekend, Oregon students went on their annual trip to Shasta Lake.  Every year 100s of OU and OSU kids head there for “Shasta Weekend,” which has made the news in past years for people leaving trash all over the place and turning it into a dump – but looks fucking awesome.

Unfortunately this year the news was way worse – 21 year old Phi Gamma Delta member Dylan Pietrs was found dead in his tent in the morning.

A University of Oregon student was found dead Saturday at Shasta Lake in Northern California, according to the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office.

University officials identified the student at Dylan Pietrs, a 21-year-old business administration major and member of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity.

The sheriff’s office said emergency responders arrived at the Gooseneck Campground at 8:48 a.m. to find people trying to revive Pietrs with CPR. [OregonLive]

Well, maybe I should rephrase.  “The news was way worse” depends on who you ask.

Any normal human being with a heart would say yeah, the loss of someone’s life is a lot worse than some loose bags of potato chips and beer cans.

The University of Oregon, judging from their initial statement, isn’t so sure.

The university’s statement, while extending sympathy to Pietrs’ family, was remarkably blunt in its condemnation of the annual campout.

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 Organization.

Please join us in offering our sincere condolences to all affected by this incident.

21 year old dies and the very first response from the school is a Well, Actually.

“Well, actually, we don’t even authorize this trip, this is another poor choice in a long line of poor choices.”

Arguably the worst condolences ever issued?

Pretty shitty, but not surprising I guess, that the school’s immediate reaction was to try and distance themselves and insist they have no responsibility for it.

Didn’t take long for the apology to come after the firestorm of criticism:

R. Kevin Marbury, vice president for student life, offers an apology in message to campus:

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.

Sincerely,

R. Kevin Marbury

Vice President, Student Life

Pro tip: any time your condolences statement starts with “As devastating as this is….” – it’s gonna be a bad condolences statement.

To Oregon’s credit, they are responding to every. single. tweet that has been fired at them admitting it was a mistake and apologizing.   Better than nothing, but might not make up for jumping at the opportunity to publicly shame the victim and his friends. Especially when they haven’t even determined the cause of death yet?

The sheriff’s office said Pietrs was seen drinking during the day on Friday before he went to his tent in the early evening. The agency said it’s unknown whether this was a factor in Pietrs’ death and that the cause was pending a post mortem exam. 

Other students found him in a sleeping bag inside a tent Saturday morning. Authorities said there are no signs of foul play.