ShareThis Page

Penn State sanctions 7 students in fraternity death

Debra Erdley
| Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017, 5:57 p.m.
The former Penn State Beta Theta Pi currently sits empty on Burrowes Road after being shut down.  A Penn State fraternity pledge died after stumbling and falling several times with toxic levels of alcohol in his body and suffered for hours with severe injuries while his friends failed to summon help, authorities said Friday in announcing criminal charges against the fraternity and 18 of its members.
The former Penn State Beta Theta Pi currently sits empty on Burrowes Road after being shut down. A Penn State fraternity pledge died after stumbling and falling several times with toxic levels of alcohol in his body and suffered for hours with severe injuries while his friends failed to summon help, authorities said Friday in announcing criminal charges against the fraternity and 18 of its members.

Penn State has sanctioned seven students with penalties ranging from probation to expulsion in the February 2017 hazing death of 19-year-old Timothy Piazza, university officials announced Tuesday.

Piazza, a sophomore engineering major from New Jersey, died of injuries he suffered when he fell down a flight of steps at an alcohol-fueled pledge event Feb. 2 at the Beta Theta Pi house. Fraternity members failed to seek help for him for 12 hours.

University spokesmen, who declined to name those sanctioned, said 19 other students implicated in the fatal incident at the now-banned fraternity house took “conduct withdrawals” from the university before the disciplinary process concluded. Six students who participated in student conduct conferences escaped disciplinary charges in the incident.

Although the university disciplinary process has been completed, 14 members of the fraternity face criminal proceedings for charges including reckless endangerment, hazing and alcohol law violations.

Authorities initially charged eight fraternity brothers with involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault in Piazza's death. Those charges were dismissed at the preliminary hearing. But prosecutors refiled those charges late last month and vowed to pursue them.

Charges against four other fraternity members were dismissed after a preliminary hearing.

Penn State officials, who announced the results of the university's disciplinary proceedings Tuesday, said the school continues to implement new student safety measures aimed at curbing excesses in the Greek life community.

“We remain resolved to focus, as we always do, on student safety and well-being, and will continue to hold accountable any individuals or student organizations that put others in danger,” Penn State President Eric J. Barron said.

Debra Erdley is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-320-7996, derdley@tribweb.com or via Twitter @deberdley_trib.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.