STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (CBS/AP) — Penn State is making changes to its Greek system, including taking control of the previously self-governing fraternities and sororities, in the wake of the February death of a pledge.
The university’s board of trustees approved a set of changes during a meeting Friday. Earlier this week, the parents of 19-year-old sophomore Timothy Piazza released a scathing letter to the school. They accuse officials of turning a blind eye to hazing and excessive drinking in the Greek system, saying it led to the Feb. 4 death of their son.
New measures include:
- University control of the fraternity and sorority organizational misconduct and adjudication process.
- Hazing that involves alcohol, physical abuse, or any behavior that puts a student’s mental or physical health at risk will result in swift permanent revocation of University recognition for the chapter involved.
- Transition to deferred recruitment/rush process for fraternities and sororities.
- Strict social restrictions.
- Monitoring of social events by University staff members.
- Relationship statement signed by all fraternity and sorority members that clarifies the respective rights and responsibilities of the University, the chapters and their respective members.
- Further parent education: availability of report card, messages to reinforce with their students.
- Capitation fee for support of extra services, spot-checkers/monitors, and educational activities.
“Our University community continues to mourn the death of student Tim Piazza and again sends our deepest sympathies to the Piazza family,” said Penn State President Eric Barron. “I am resolved to turn the pain and anguish radiating through our entire community into decisive action and reform, concentrating on the safety and well-being of students at Penn State. These new safety and reform initiatives represent a significant departure from the Greek system’s broken self-governance model and indicate steps necessary to address the complex problems.”
Eighteen members of the now-shuttered Beta Theta Pi fraternity face charges in connection with Piazza’s death.
Police say he drank a life-threatening amount of alcohol during a hazing ritual.
President Eric Barron says Penn State will lobby for tougher laws on hazing, something sought by Piazza’s parents.