Mother of student who died at Shasta Lake calls U of O statement 'insensitive'

Dylan Pietrs was found dead in his tent at Shasta Lake on May 19, 2018. He was a 21-year-old business administration major at the University of Oregon. Photo courtesy friends and family of Dylan Pietrs

The mother of a University of Oregon student who died over the weekend said the university's statement following her son's death was "insensitive."

Dylan Pietrs was found dead Saturday morning in his tent near Shasta Lake, Shasta County Sheriff's Office said. Investigators said he was drinking Friday, but do not know if that contributed to his death.

Saturday, U of O released a statement confirming his death. It reads in part:

"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 life choices during visits to Lake Shasta. These activities are contrary to the values of the university and fraternity and sorority organizations."

Community members believed the statement was inappropriate.

Dylan Pietrs' mother, Kelly Pietrs, said the comments were disappointing and added "insult to injury."

"There is nothing worse than hearing that your son has died," Pietrs told KATU News.

The U of O re-released the statement and apologized.

"We offer our deepest condolences to the friends and family of the student, and we regret the insensitive tone of the earlier statement," U of O said.

Pietrs said the Assistant Dean called her personally to apologize.

"He was loved and really cherished by a lot of people," she said.

Pietrs studied Business Administration and was a member of the Phi Delta Gamma fraternity. She said Dylan visited 13 countries during a semester abroad.

"I'm just extremely grateful that he got to do that last year, and got to live his dream before this incident happened," she said.

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