Spotlight hits Greek life after multiple hazing deaths

Local News

The fraternity culture at Penn State University is back in the national spotlight today as prosecutors release a grand jury’s report in the wake of a pledge’s drinking death.

26 people face criminal charges including two from the Erie area.  The alleged hazing death of Penn State Fraternity Pledge Tim Piazza prompting a grand jury investigation on hazing and excessive alcohol consumption at the university’s fraternities, now completed.

Centre County District Attorney Parks Miller saying, “There is no system; there was no system…  Cure the currently deficient hazing law.  Hazing right now is only a misdemeanor and that is just not sufficient.”

Prosecutors also revealing the panel’s recommendations.  

Piazza died in February as he pledged Beta Theta Pi.  In all, 26 of Piazza’s former fraternity brothers have now been charged, many facing allegations from reckless endangerment to manslaughter.

Police say the students led them to believe a security camera in the fraternity’s basement wasn’t working, but instead, allegedly deleted that video.  According to prosecutors, the now-recovered video shows the brothers giving Piazza 18 drinks in less than 90 minutes.

Tim’s Father, James, saying, “Talk to your children. Tell them not to get involved in this nonsense.”

A crackdown on college Greek life growing across the country.  This morning, an alleged hazing incident at the University of Houston led to a criminal indictment against an entire fraternity.  Last month, Texas State University suspended all fraternity and sorority activities after a student was found dead following a fraternity event.  And, Florida State suspending its Pi Kappa Phi branch after a pledge was found dead subsequent a night of partying.

Penn State, meantime, permanently banning Piazza’s fraternity back in March. The grand jury report, today, also called on the university to regulate drinking, rather than hold a fraternity council responsible.

–Elizabeth Hur, ABC News, New York

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