A University of Oregon student died Saturday morning at California’s Shasta Lake while attending an annual camping event.
University officials identified the student as 21-year-old fraternity member Dylan Pietrs. According to the Oregonian/OregonLive, Pietrs was drinking the day before fellow students found his body, but it is not clear yet whether that contributed to his death.
Police do not suspect foul play in the incident.
School officials extended their condolences to the victim’s family. But they also criticized the annual “Shasta Weekend” in Northern California.
“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,” the university said in its statement. “These activities are contrary to the values of the university and fraternity and sorority organizations.”
The unsanctioned event has a history of at least three other student deaths since 2000. And in 2016, so much trash filled the surrounding campgrounds that officials declared the site a “biohazard.”
The university later removed the paragraph from its statement that criticized the outing after it received backlash from people who said it trivialized the loss of life.
In a tweet, UO said it regretted the “insensitive tone” of the initial statement.
The Division of Student Life has updated its statement on the passing of a student at Lake Shasta. We offer our deepest condolences to the friends and family of the student, and we regret the insensitive tone of the earlier statement: https://t.co/FF416d8wRc— University of Oregon (@uoregon) May 20, 2018
UO officials said most of the students attending Shasta Weekend returned home after the death and the school will be offering counseling services.