Hazing Came to a Deadly Stop at Penn State

At the Beta Theta Pi fraternity house at Penn State, freshman Timothy Piazza, a pledge, was forced into drinking 18 alcoholic beverages, which he did in 82 minutes. This was an act of hazing, refers to humiliating and dangerous initiation rituals, imposed on college students seeking membership to the fraternity.

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Piazza, 19, was described as ” a happy and caring human being” who “was killed at the hands of those he was seeking friendship from,” his father, Jim Piazza said to ABC News. According to Attorney Stacy Parks Miller, fraternity members told police that security cameras inside Beta Theta Pi were inoperable on Feb. 2, the night of the deadly party, but FBI agents were recently able to restore the video from the hard drive.

The footage found the brothers forcing beer to the pledges and immediately after told them to perform another shotgun together as a pledge class. Piazza, severely under the influence, fell head-first down the stairs at about 11 p.m. and fell again around 5 a.m., hitting his head against a metal railing. At various points in the time between, fraternity brothers allegedly slapped Piazza several times in the face and stomach. It was nearly another six hours before an ambulance was called for Piazza, who ultimately died with traumatic brain injuries and a ruptured spleen.

The fraternity brothers manually deleted this footage from the surveillance cameras in the basement. They attempted to hide this act during a police investigation as a result to Piazza’s death on February 2nd. The “deleted” surveillance footage was found months later by the FBI. Afterward, 12 additional brothers were charged on Monday, November 13th. In total, 18 members of the fraternity were charged. Some charges include aggravated assault, tampering with evidence, involuntary manslaughter, hazing and furnishing alcohol to minors.

As a result, the school has changed the way it regulates fraternities and sororities by taking more control over disciplinary procedures. Penn State shut down the fraternity and said it will be at least five years before the Beta Theta Pi chapter might be allowed to regain status as a recognized fraternity. The school also said it punished seven students found to be in violation of the university’s student code of conduct. Penalties ranged from probation to expulsion.

These are the defendants charged with a crime.

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Cassidy Carroll, Staff Writer

Junior Cassidy Carroll is a staff writer for the 2017-2018 Colonel. She plays varsity cross country, lacrosse, and track for LHS while also being a member of NAHS. Outside of Ledyard, she’s often taking part in daring adventures…but she didn’t share any.

Author: thecolonel306

The Colonel is Ledyard High School's award-winning news magazine, serving as the student voice of LHS for almost 50 years.

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