Penn State Hazing Turns Deadly


Sofia Jacobo, Co-Editor in Chief

On Feb. 2, 2017 during the first night of Beta Theta Pi initiation, Pennsylvania State University undergraduate student, Timothy Piazza was treated like “roadkill” and “tortured” to death.

Hazing has been associated with fraternities and sororities for some time, but Piazza’s death was one of the “largest criminal indictments against a fraternity and its members in recent history,” noted CNN.

Beta Theta Pi was supposed to be alcohol-free, due to a suspension eight years ago, according to CNN.

Piazza and other pledges were forced to participate in “the gauntlet,” which includes consuming dangerously large amounts of alcohol in a short amount of time.

Several video cameras installed in the house show footage of Piazza falling down a 15-foot flight of stairs after consuming alcohol. Piazza also fell several more times onto the floor and into the railing reported CNN.

Instead of dialing 911 or alerting campus police, the members of of Beta Theta Pi “carried Piazza upstairs and were seen on camera trying to slap Piazza awake. At one point, two of the brothers even land[ed] on his unconscious body. One [brother] even struck Piazza in the abdomen,” reported NBC News.

One member did suggest calling 911, but the other brothers condemned him as being “overdramatic.” The rest of the brothers then went on to Google search solutions.

The following day at 10 a.m., one of the fraternity members discovered him, but it wasn’t until 10:42 that they dialed 911.

While calling for help, “they told people to clean up, cover up the evidence, [and] get rid of it,” stated CNN.

Jim Piazza, Timothy’s father, told “The Today Show” that “this wasn’t ‘boys being boys,’ this was criminal activity.”

On Feb. 4, two days after the first night of initiation, Piazza passed away from a traumatic and nonrecoverable brain injury.

The family is doing everything that they can to not only bring justice for their son, but to bring awareness to what really occurs in fraternities and sororities.

Eight out of the 18 members of the fraternity are being charged with involuntary manslaughter, while the 10 others are being charged with connection to the case.

Pennsylvania State University President, Eric Barron put a limit on the alcohol consumed during fraternity and sorority events; he also stopped all pledging after Piazza’s death according to CNN.

Unfortunately, President Barron cannot do much more, as housing for frats and sororities are off-campus and on private property.

Jim Piazza does not accept this, he thinks “the universities need to take a tougher stand” and that President Barron “hold[s] the ultimate pen, which is the pen of expulsion” reported CNN.

Penn State issued a statement saying “Our hearts go out to the family. This is heart-wrenching for the family, and [for] our entire community.”