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Man found dead inside SF State dorm room

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A 24-year-old man died in a dorm room in the Mary Ward Residence Hall at San Francisco State earlier this month. (Laura Waxmann/S.F. Examiner)

San Francisco State University police are investigating the death of a 24-year-old man in a campus dorm room earlier this month.

The man, identified by the San Francisco Medical Examiner’s office as S.F. resident Nickie Young, was not a student at the university, S.F. State University Police Department Chief Jason Wu confirmed to the San Francisco Examiner on Friday.

According to UPD’s crime log, officers found Young unresponsive inside a dorm room of the university’s Mary Ward Residence Hall at 10:18 p.m. on Feb. 6.

When the officers arrived, Young was “not breathing and cold to the touch,” according to a report of the incident. Medics who also responded to the dorm room determined Young was deceased.

Wu said the manner of Young’s death is still under investigation and that UPD is “waiting for the medical examiner’s report to determine the cause of death.”

While several students said that an alcohol or drug overdose resulted in Young’s death, Wu said UPD did not have “conclusive information to indicate whether the decedent had consumed alcohol or not at this time.”

The death rocked the campus community. Several students living in Mary Ward and the Mary Park Residence Hall next-door said that more than a week later, they had not received proper notification of the incident.

“The thing is we didn’t get an email or anything about it,” said an 18-year-old Mary Park resident who declined to give her name.  The student expressed concerns about what she identified as a lag in communication between police, university administrators and the resident students.

The student referenced a sexual assault that occurred inside of Mary Ward last year.

“No one knew about it. Everyone was in Bricks, which is the pizza place next to the dorm, and we all found out because we saw it on the news,” said the student. “We should know these things as students, especially the ones living on campus.”

But residents of Mary Ward Hall said they received a “general” email from S.F. State’s Residential Life program director on Feb. 7 that informed them of counseling options, but was void of details or mention of Young’s death.

The email, shared with the San Francisco Examiner, only informed students that the campus community had “experienced a very serious and unfortunate incident in Mary Ward Hall” and that Residential Life and “various Student Affairs Enrollment Management offices have been working with individual students to help them through this incident and with their academics.”

Wu confirmed that counseling was “provided and outreach was made to any student who was affected by the incident.”

According to students living in both of the residence halls, Young was a guest of a Mary Ward resident.

All visitors to the dorm must be checked-in with the Hall Assistant. Overnight guests are required to submit an identification card upon signing in and must sign out the next morning.

While several students living in Mary Ward said they generally felt safe in their dorm, they said that it is not uncommon for some students and their guests to shirk procedure.

“A lot of the time people aren’t paying attention,” said another 18-year-old Mary Ward resident who also wished to remain anonymous, in reference to the front desk. “If people really wanted to, they could sneak in.”

It is unclear if Young was a registered guest with the residence hall on the night he died.

His death represents the first on campus death of the year, according to Wu, who added that the last homicide that occurred on campus was in 1994.

There have been a total of 11 deaths on campus since 2009, all of which were attributed to natural causes, said Wu.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information comes in.


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