University Announces Death of Revelle Student

The flag in Revelle Plaza flew at half mast Monday to mourn the death of Revelle junior Ricardo Ambriz, at the request of Revelle College Provost Paul Yu. Photo by Jonathan Gao/Guardian
The flag in Revelle Plaza flew at half mast Monday to mourn the death of Revelle junior Ricardo Ambriz, at the request of Revelle College Provost Paul Yu. Photo by Jonathan Gao/Guardian

Ricky Ambriz, a junior in Revelle College, was taken to Scripps Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced deceased early Saturday.

Revelle College junior Ricardo “Ricky” Delgado Ambriz died at approximately 2:30 a.m. on the morning of Saturday, May 17, according to an official notification of student death emailed to Chancellor Pradeep Khosla, which the UCSD Guardian obtained Monday afternoon.

The email, which Khosla received from Interim Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Alan Houston, stated that Houston’s office was notified of the death sometime on Saturday. The email to Khosla did not identify a cause of death for Ambriz. According to Jeff Gattas, executive director of university communications and public affairs at UCSD, the official notification would be sent to a larger list of staff at the school.

A statement by Khosla released through the UCSD News Center Monday afternoon said that Ambriz was a computer science major and was highly involved in the UCSD community.

“[Ambriz] was active in our student community as a member of Phi Iota Alpha fraternity and MEChA,” Khosla’s statement read. “He was involved with OASIS and graduated from UC San Diego’s Summer Bridge program [and] worked in the Climate, Atmospheric Science and Physical Oceanography business office at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.”

Revelle Council President Soren Nelson, who learned of the death early Saturday morning, said in an interview with the Guardian that he and fellow councilmembers were shocked and devastated to learn of Ambriz’s death.

“I never even met him, but on some level, I feel responsible. We’re all responsible for each other,” Nelson said. “For me, personally, it’s like, is there more we could have done, is there more education that needed to happen?”

Nelson added that he was blown away by the support shown by the Revelle staff in light of the tragedy. However, he said he was upset by the lack of a response from upper UCSD administration, including Khosla.

“I think [the death is] a good example of how out of touch with the needs of our community our chancellor is,” Nelson said. “From our understanding, he was not at the [Sun God] Festival, and the official report did not come out until today. Our chancellor is missing in action.”

An email sent to members of the A.S. Council listserv earlier on Monday from Associated Students director Heather Belk stated that a male Revelle College student who lived in the Village had died early Saturday. The email did not mention Ambriz by name.

“I have a heavy heart as I write to inform you that a UCSD student passed away early Saturday morning,” Belk wrote in the email. “He was a Revelle College student living at the Village, and a member of several involvement communities here on campus.”

Belk could not be reached for comment as of Monday afternoon.

A 1:23 a.m. entry in the May 17 UCSD Police Department logs listed that a student was found unresponsive in the Village East Building 1 and transported to Scripps Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced deceased. The The San Diego County Medical Examiner has not released any record of Ambriz’s death.

Users on Reddit and Facebook — some who claimed to have known Ambriz personally — had speculated that the cause of Ambriz’s death was connected to the Sun God Festival, which took place Friday, May 16. However, the official cause of death and any possible relation to the festival are still unknown.

“I think that it’s really easy to make this about Sun God [Festival] and say, ‘Oh this means there won’t be any more Sun God,’ and I think that’s the most disrespectful approach we can take,” Nelson  said. “This is about losing a student and the effect it has on the family and our community.”

Nelson also said that Revelle College Provost Paul Yu ordered the flag in Revelle Plaza to be lowered at half-mast this Monday morning.

According to Houston’s email, Ambriz is survived by his parents, Bonifacio and Maria Ambriz. A fund to cover funeral expenses, set up by a user named Daniel Ambriz, was launched via online fundraising website late Saturday night.

“[Ambriz] will be remembered as a funny and cheerful guy,” the description on read. “My sincere condolences to his family, Phi Iota Alpha Brothers and his girlfriend.”

At press time, the fundraising campaign had raised over $3,000.

UPDATE: The May 17 UCSD Police Department police report for

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article implied that A.S. director Heather Belk had written in an email that Ambriz died in his sleep. Belk’s email only said that the student had died early Saturday.


Earlier articles and an earlier version of this article used reports from sources who spoke on condition of anonymity. The Guardian has chosen to retract the anonymous sources’ comments, including a statement that Ambriz died in his sleep, due to a lack of supporting evidence and information.

13 thoughts on “University Announces Death of Revelle Student

  1. Ricky was one of my frat brothers and though I never met him, I am sure he was not only a great fraternity brother of Phi Iota Alpha but a great son, brother, boyfriend, and student. To those being disrespectful, just know that your day will come and I am sure you would want someone, anyone, to give a damn. Regardless of his race or cultural or ethnic background some family is sad and I am sad too. R.I.P. hermano y nunca habrás sido olvidado. Semper un hermano. #SPSJ

  2. Who do you think you are Nelson making these kind of statements?! You seem very poorly informed on the situation and should not be commenting on something you know nothing about, especially when the subject is so sensitive. What do you think “we” should of done more of?? As an AS member, what kind of action did you take to promote health and safety?? The festival made it a clear priority this year to make it safer. Despite harsh criticism, the festival followed through and tried everything it could to make it safer while many students mocked the efforts and even fought against them. However, the festival as a whole was still much safer as a result but unfortunately, a tragedy still occurred. Pointing fingers does absolutely no good at this time, especially from someone who is just speculating.

    Furthermore, what good would it of been for the chancellor to be at Sun God?? While I don’t agree with many of the chancellor’s decisions, him being at Sun God makes no difference. He is disliked by much of the student body and him attending an event where most of the students are intoxicated and overly excited makes no sense. Other than being physically present in this student’s dorm, I don’t see how Khosla’s presence would of changed anything. In addition, it took awhile to release an official statement because so much is still being learned. I respect the chancellor for taking the time to release an accurate statement instead of (like the guardian) releasing a quickly, uninformed statement that is filled with rumors and speculation.

    You are in no position to comment on this story and it’s disappointing to see how the Guardian will pretty much feature any nobody who has a take on the story and feature him as source of information. This passing was a horrible tragedy and we as a campus should remembering this student and supporting his close family and friends. Not pointing fingers and commenting on things we know nothing about.

    1. Exactly. And furthermore, details may not have been released earlier because that is at the discretion of his family. Their priority is to mourn their loss, not placate students’ curiosity.

      1. Thank you for this. I thought the same thing. LET HIS FAMILY KNOW and make sure of their wishes before making official announcements. I am so sorry that we are even discussing this but this is a HUMAN BEING, people! Not a statistic!

        Also double-agreed that Dr. Khosla’s presence means nothing one way or another to any of this.

    2. You clearly need to read the article more thoroughly. Nelson states that to make this tragedy about the Sun God Festival is “the most disrespectful approach we can take” and the focus should be on “losing a student and the effect it has on the family and our community.” Nelson’s comments about what “we” should have done to prevent this death appear in the context of his comments that even though he never met Ambriz, “We [the UCSD community] are all responsible for each other.” He is not pointing fingers at the Sun God Festival or its organizers, but rather expressing loss for the UCSD community at large.

      Your angry remarks contradict that sense of community, not any of the quotes attributed to Nelson.

    3. While I agree with you that the Sun God Task force did everything it could do make Sun God safer and the Chancellor’s presence may not have precluded this tragedy from happening, I think you’re misunderstanding Nelson’s quote. He is the Revelle President and losing a Revelle student definitely makes him feel horrible for what happened. This is why he, at this initial moment, feels like more could have been done. Nelson is right though, in that the Chancellor could have released his report much earlier and the Chancellor has definitely not lived up to his promise of putting the students first. So you’re really in no right to call someone out who feels deeply affected by this tragedy.

  3. Let’s all be respectful as their are people mourning over the loss of a son, boyfriend, brother, and a friend. A loss is a loss, no matter the circumstances. Hearts are broken, and all we can do is be polite and send our thoughts and prayers with his loved ones.

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