Parents of Penn State Student Hazed to Death

Randolph Lopez
June 3, 2017

The changes include the shutting down of any fraternity whose hazing involves alcohol, physical or mental abuse.

Their son, Timothy Piazza, died in February at the age of 19 after he was forced to drink heavily during a hazing event at the Beta Theta Pi fraternity and repeatedly fell down a flight of stairs.

"This was a horrific tragedy and our focus is on reaching solutions to the complex issues of hazing, risky drinking and other misconduct that plague fraternities here and around the country", the university said in a statement on Thursday.

"Across this nation, Greek life has operated through self-governance", Barron said. He said things such as zero tolerance for hazing and deferring rush until students have had more time on campus "sends a clear message".

"Our aim is to curb destructive outcomes in the Penn State Greek community with the hope that we can preserve what is good and valuable about the Greek experience and the sense of community these organizations provide", -- said. "We believe after years of trying to adjust and improve the self-governance model for the Greek system, that we need to take control of some key aspects of it".

James and Evelyn Piazza addressed the university's Board of Trustees in a letter that called on the university to "admit responsibility" in the incident and "fix" what the parents see as "broken" Greek Life culture.

President Eric Barron said Penn State will lobby for tougher laws on hazing, something sought by Piazza's parents, and will host a national conference on Greek Life to work with other universities on finding answers.

"Our son died on your watch because of ignorance and denial by Penn State", said the letter dated May 31 and signed by Jim and Evelyn Piazza.

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". Penn State has a long history of harsh hazing, excessive drinking and sexual assaults in its Greek Life".

Beyond Penn State, the Piazzas want laws changed so hazing-related crimes get stiffer penalties.

"We will never see him again because of the Administration's failures to protect him and turning a blind eye to known problems", they wrote.

"The University must introduce strict policies and procedures for existence and interaction of Greek Life and must put into place means in which to monitor and strictly enforce such policies and procedures", they wrote. Earlier this week, the parents of 19-year-old Timothy Piazza released a scathing letter to the school.

Some frat members even allegedly prevented others from calling 9-1-1.

"Our son died on your watch".

"There have been no concrete real changes made today. The world is watching".

"We're trying to save what is at base a very good system that has made some really terrible mistakes recently", said trustee Bill Oldsey, who had been president of the Phi Kappa Theta fraternity as a Penn State student. At one point, when another newly initiated member yelled at others, saying Piazza needed to go to the hospital, one member pushed him against the wall and said they had it under control. "This was a horrific tragedy and our focus is on reaching solutions to the complex issues of hazing, unsafe drinking and other misconduct that plague fraternities here and around the country", the statement read.

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