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Parents concerned about window height at UCSD dorms amid student death

Aaron Fan, 18, died after falling from 8th floor
UCSD Aaron Fan death.png
Posted at 5:42 PM, Oct 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-25 21:45:06-04

LA JOLLA, Calif. (KGTV) -- UCSD Campus Police is continuing its investigation into the death of an 18-year-old UCSD student who fell out of an eighth-floor dorm bathroom window on Friday. Parents of UCSD students are now voicing their concerns about the dorms' window height.

In September, Christine Hawes was so excited to move her daughter Vienna into UCSD's John Muir College dorms.

"We were going to have a college student. The dream was going to happen," Hawes said. Her daughter did not live on campus her first year because of the pandemic.

As a mom, she was thankful for the University's rigorous COVID-19 testing and safety protocols. But her worry shot up when she walked inside her daughter's dorm. She noticed that the windows were incredibly low.

"The window was at knee level. I said, 'Please stay away from the window. Please put a piece of furniture. Please take this seriously because this is not safe.' Quite obviously a safety hazard," Hawes said.

RELATED: Authorities identify UC San Diego student who died after fall from 8th floor dorm room

Not even two months later, flowers lay on the bottom of Tioga Hall.

Classmates left them in honor of Aaron Fan, a freshman resident who died this past weekend after falling out of the eighth-floor bathroom window.

According to the medical examiner's note, a campus officer came by the dorm room party to report a noise complaint. That is when Fan went into the bathroom. A short while later, witnesses saw Fan fall out of the window.

"I am so sorry for everyone, for all the students at the university," Hawes said.

ABC 10News is learning that Fan was a recent graduate of Westview High School in the Poway Unified School District. Principal Tina Ziegler sent a message to Westview staff:

"Dear Wolverines,
It is with sadness I share the following news with you regarding the passing of one of our Wolverine Family. Many of you may have heard that Westview Alumni Aaron Fan, class of 2021, passed away this weekend at UCSD. Aaron was very involved on campus including Speech and Debate, Model United Nations, and Mock Trial. You most likely have current students who are involved in these activities and may have known Aaron. Some of you knew Aaron well and are greatly impacted by this news. If you or any of your students need support or assistance the counselors will be available throughout the week.
My hearts go out to the family, and we wish to respect their privacy during this difficult time. Aron's family appreciated my phone call to them this morning and they appreciated condolences on behalf of our Westview Community. As soon as I hear anything regarding services or funeral arrangements, I will be sharing with all of you.
I am heartbroken hearing about this sudden loss of a young Wolverine. This is an extremely sad time for our Westview Community. Again, if you are feeling upset and are in need of someone to talk to, please do not hesitate to contact me or any of the counselors.
Tina Ziegler, Principal of Westview High School

UCSD Campus Police has not said if alcohol was involved. But Hawes believes the windows are unsafe for anyone, sober or intoxicated. She is hoping the residence halls built in the late 1960s are brought up to code so tragedies like this never happen again.

"We have to see the danger, and we have to do something before we lose someone else in our family and in our community," Hawes said.

Counseling services are available at Westview High School for the next week. UCSD Students dealing with grief will also have access to counseling. The University sent ABC 10News a statement that reads:

"Undergraduate students are encouraged to contact their Dean of Student Affairs for support, as they can help to arrange temporary leaves of absence, reach out to professors and connect students with campus and community resources and UC San Diego Counseling and Psychological Services provides free, confidential counseling and crisis services for students."